Wednesday, December 16, 2009

VG Meet Dnd: Larva Crab Worms from Borderlands

[Below you'll find a 4th Edition rendition of the Larva Crab Worm enemies from the hit role-playing shooter game Borderlands]

Larva Crab Worms
Heavily armored subterranean threat who place their habitats near areas soaked with magic.

Larva Crab Worm Tactics
With their hardy scales and territorial nature Larva Crab Worms have a tendency to rush into battle, and use their Scuttling Charge ability to push opponents into advantageous positions. Against ranged foes or opponents they can't quite reach yet the Larva Crab Worms unleash their powerful Corrosive Spittle attacks. Regardless of their tactics, Larva Crab Worms make the most of their burrow speed, utilizing it to both ambush opponents and escape from hairy situations.

Larva Crab Worm Lore
Nature DC 14: The lair of larva crab worms are often placed near deposits of crystals, most notably the magical shock crystal which they cultivate and harvest in a symbiotic relationship. Because of their strange relationship with shock crystals, larva crab worms have built up a resistance to electricity.
Nature DC 17: Despite their thick protective scales larva crab worms are extremely sensitive to pain, and any grievous injuries quickly kill the beast.

Arcana DC 17: The shock crystals that larva crab worms are renowned for farming can be used to decrease the cost of items with the lightning keyword. Each fully-formed crystal (DM's discretion) can be used to lower the cost of an item with the lightning keyword by 10%.

Encounter Groups
Although protective of their shock crystal deposits, larva crab worms are occasionally pressed into the service of young Behir Bolter Whelps.

Level 10 Encounter (2,450 XP)
  • 1 behir bolter whlep (level 8 solo soldier)
  • 2 larva crab worms (level 8 skirmisher)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dungeon Brew Reviews: Critical Hit and Fumble Decks

When playing 3.5 DnD, or even the new Pathfinder, sometimes a critical hit just doesn't feel that...well, critical. Doing x2 damage is all well and good, but sometimes you want to eviscerate your foe, causing him to bleed to death, or smack him so silly he's seeing stars for a few rounds. By the same token, missing on a 1, while annoying, just isn't very descriptive. So you critical fumbled, how did you do it?

Well, thanks to Paizo's Critical Hit and Critical Fumble Decks you get a little more out of your Critical die rolls. The premise of both cards is that when you roll a 1 (for the Critical Fumble Deck), or confirm a critical threat (for the Critical Hit deck) you draw a card from the deck, compare it to what kind of attack you made (magical, natural, slashing, ranged) and that card tells you what action your critical took. Things from an extra attack roll all the way to decapitation (for the Critical Deck) or dropping your weapon to hitting yourself with your own spell (for the Critical Fumble Deck).

The Good
Besides helping busy DMs with go-to descriptions for Critical hits and fumbles, the cards keep the game lively. I use them myself and my players are always excited about a critical hit, calling for a draw from the deck almost before the threat has been confirmed. By the same token, it helps lessen the effect of a critical fumble. Sure, you are making a failure more than just an automatic miss, but from my experience the players don't mind rolling a 1 quite so much now that it comes with an interesting explanation.

The Evil
This system isn't entirely balanced. One of the critical hit cards, as mentioned above is decapitation. That is a pretty powerful thing, even when its as rare as a 1 in 52 chance already tacked on to less than 5%. A critical already has the chance to obliterate a well crafted plan by destroying NPCs and villains who were meant to live longer, adding in an additional chance for them to perish increases this problem. The other issue is that the two decks are meant to work together. You don't have to of course, you could easily use the critical hit deck or fumble decks by themselves. Keep in mind though, that in 3.5 D&D, not every monster is capable of receiving a critical hit, if you run a campaign where the players fight a lot of undead, constructs or other creatures immune to critical hits the fumble deck becomes a much more serious issue as it isn't balanced by the benefits of the critical deck.

Bang For Your Buck
Each deck costs $9.99, and for that you receive 52 cards with 4 different outcomes on each one, each outcome pertaining to a different type of attack. You also receive rules with advice for how to balance the cards for use in your campaign, and some new mechanics for your game that enhance the rules presented.

The Final Verdict
I endorse these products wholeheartedly, I've been using them in my games for around a year now and they definitely keep things both interesting and fun. They are cheap, they are are well made, and they make combat a little more complex. If that's not what you want, I can see you not getting them, but if you want to make your fights a place where a man can lose some fingers, or a fighter's sword could go flying out of his grasp during a dangerous maneuver, these cards will help you make it happen.

Francis Bousho is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Dungeon Brew Reviews Paranoia Mandatory Bonus Fun Card Gam

Hello and welcome to Paranoia. I know you were expecting to come here for a review, but unfortunately that information is above your clearance level. But don't worry, Friend Computer is here to help.

Let me explain. In the Mandatory Bonus Fun Card Game, the players take on the role troubleshooters (people who find trouble and shoot it) in an underground complex run by a benevolent, albeit unbalanced, computer. Your job is to undertake missions all while remaining vigilant against mutants, and members of secret societies. By the way, you are a mutant and a member of a secret society. You are a traitor, a well armed traitor at that. But the problem is you are on a team of other well armed traitors, all bent on proving their "innocence" by proving you are a traitor against Friend Computer. I wouldn't worry too much though, because there will be plenty of chances for you to do the same to them, or even kill them outright.

The Good
The game is fun, the rukles are simple and mission structure keeps the game engaging with a variety of objectives to complete. Added on top of all that though is the fast paced and strategic game play where every traitor for himself and danger lurks around every corner. The game maintains a sense of dark humour with great art and quotes adorning every card, not to mention missions like "Bake the Traitor" and action cards like "Spurious Logic".

The Evil
Well the biggest problem with the game is that its out of print. Thankfully though and the PDF format have come to the rescue, allowing you to purchase a copy and download it directly to your computer. Of course, this presents its own issues, mainly having to print out all the cards. While most of the cards are black and white, the clearance cards and some of the game tokens are in color. And the PDF is constructed poorly, with each card being presented on a page of its own. For the color issue I ended up using different color paperclips as tokens, and I placed a paperclip over the player reference card, sliding it up and down to denote security clearance. The other problem took a little more work, I copied each individual card as a jpeg and then placed them side by side on a .doc file. Although time consuming, this allowed me to print them out about six at a time.

Bang For Your Buck
The game costs a whopping $24.95. For this you get 20 different mission cards, which act like minigames, 39 different actions cards, and a variety of tokens and player reference cards, all of which have to be printed and cut out.

The Final Verdict
I had a lot of fun with this game, I picked it up at 20% off and I loved it. My friends and I played it extensively while I worked on this article. That having been said, this game is not for everyone. If you love, or you know someone who does love, the world of Paranoia, anything Orwellian or non-collectible card games you'll love this game. For those of you who don't, you'll be better off spending it on something else.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

VG Meet Dnd: The Golden Goddesses of Zelda

*The Legend of Zelda and all official images are property of Nintendo

As you may have already seen Mariah has started statting out races from the Legend of Zelda game series. I've decided to jump in on the fun from time to time and my first contribution is a write-up of the three Golden Goddesses. While these deities can be worshiped by anyone, they work best with the Zelda races, like the Hylian or the Rito. Below you'll find a write up for each god, as well as as a write up for the pantheon as a whole. Each entry also includes a new Channel Divinity feat, complete with power card, and a list of domains (introduced in Divine Power) that fit each entry.

The Golden Goddess
The Golden Goddesses are a group of three related deities collectively representing Hyrule, but focusing on the virtues most important to that culture-courage, wisdom, and power. In Hyrule the Golden Goddesses are the most worshiped deities. They are worshiped by a variety of races and professions-human farmers, hylian nobles, and zora musicians to name a few. Almost everyone offers prayers to the Golden Goddesses as a collective group, only offering prayers to an individual sister when they need help with something specific. For example, a judge might offer up a prayer to Nayru before a trial, and a warrior might ask for the guidance of Din during a battle. As a whole, the Golden Goddesses exhort their followers to:
  • Do not resist the current of destiny, to refuse its call is to deny yourself our greatest gift.
  • Strive for balance in life. Courage, wisdom, and power are nothing alone, but together can make wishes come true.
  • Do not abuse the gifts of the goddesses, to do so is to inspire retribution.
Golden Touch [Divinity]
Prerequisite: Channel Divinity class feature, must worship the Golden Goddesses
Benefit: You gain the Channel Divinity power Golden Touch

Domains: Creation, Fate, Protection

One of the Golden Goddesses, Din represents the the virtue of power. With her might she created the earth and through her comes the dance of seasons. Like her sisters Farore and Nayru she is worshiped throughout Hyrule, however the vast majority of her worshipers are either warriors or goron. In iconography Din is alternatively shown as either a hylian or a gerudo woman with both palms open with small flames rising up from her open palms. Surprisingly in some pictures she also has a snake curled about her neck ready to strike. She encourages her worshipers to:
  • Achieve and maintain physical perfection.
  • Test your prowess in contests and in battle. May the strongest prevail.
  • Respect Fire, it is an invaluable tool and a powerful weapon.
Din's Fire [Divinity]
Prerequisite: Channel Divinity class feature, must worship Din
Benefit: You gain the Channel Divinity power Din's Fire

Domains: Earth, Strength, Sun

One of the Golden Goddesses, Farore exemplifies the virtue of courage. She is the creator of life and the patron deity of Hyrule's staunchest defenders. Like her sisters Din and Nayru, she is worshiped throughout Hyrule, mostly though by the various fae creatures such as the kokiri. In images she is most often portrayed as a hylian woman with long flowing green hair. She espouses her followers to:
  • Act with valor in all things.
  • Nurture and respect life.
  • Watch for and defend against tyranny in all its forms.
Farore's Wind [Divinity]
Prerequisite: Channel Divinity class feature, must worship Farore
Benefit: You gain the Channel Divinity power Farore's Wind

Domains: Freedom, Life, Luck

Lawful Good
One of the Golden Goddesses, Nayru represents the virtue of wisdom. As her final act before leaving this realm she gave forth the body of law. Like her sisters Din and Farore, she is worshiped throughout Hyrule, mostly by soldiers, nobility, and others who protect civilization. In art she is often portrayed as a hylian woman with long blue hair, with a single shock turned upward towards the sky. Her faithful should:
  • Understand and follow the law.
  • Bring the light of civiliation to the shadows of the world.
  • Study the past and the present, in this way you can foresee what is to come.
Nayru's Love [Divinity]
Prerequisite: Channel Divinity class feature, must worship Nayru
Benefit: You gain the Channel Divinity power Nayru's Love

Domains: Civilization, Justice, Knowledge

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Design a Holiday Dungeon Contest

*Photo by Luigi Diamanti

The guys over at Dungeon's Master are running a pretty nifty contest for the Holiday Season. To enter, create a holiday themed dungeon and send it in. The entries will all be collected into an e-book that Dungeon's Master will post for free download on their site next year, and the winner of the contest will have his pick of three really neat titles coming up for the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. All in all it seems like a really cool contest and I can't wait to see what people come up with. To learn more, and hopefully enter the contest, check out their explanation of the contest here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

4th Edition Dnd Races of Zelda: Rito


Average Height: 5'4" - 6'0"
Average Weight: 140-200 lb.

Ability Scores: +2 Dexterity, + 2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 squares
Vision: Low-light

Languages: Hylian [Common]
Skill Bonuses: +2 Acrobatics, +2 Perception
Light on your Feet: You can shift in difficult terrain
Aerial Acrobat:
You gain a + 1 bonus to your Reflex Defense
Rito Flight: You can use Rito Flight as an encounter power

Play a rito if you want...
◆ To be able to take to the sky above your foes
◆ To be a member of a close knit tribe that reveres a powerful dragon
◆ To be a member of a race that favors the bard, sorcerer, and rogue classes

Physical Qualities:
Ritos are very bird-like in appearance, and are believed to have evolved to their current state from another race. Their most prominent features are their large yellow beaks where a human's nose might be and an expansive set of wings under their arms. These wings fold and tuck neatly when not in use and are usually off-white with brown at the tips of the feathers. All Rito have red eyes and can have pale to tan skin, and white, brown or red hair, though white is the most common. They also have very small pointed feet like those of a bird, with small but still capable talons. Rito often wear lose, colorful robes which do not constrict their movement or flight. They wear few other adornments other than a belt and a bag to carry things while in flight. White, reds, golds and browns are popular colors in their garb and homes.

Playing a Rito:
The Rito live outside of the cities in mountainous terrain and can convert caves or low cliffs into suitable dwellings. Young Rito are called fledglings before they have gained the ability to fly. When they are ready, a fledgling will undertake the journey to the lair of the Rito patron exarc, the sky spirit Valoo. Once there Valoo bestows upon the fledgling one of his scales, which enables them to grow wings and fly. This is the Rito's most time-honored tradition and to refuse to go to Valoo, either from fear or inability, brings great shame to a Rito. Most Rito can only fly a short distance before becoming fatigued, but some more experienced and older Rito can fly over long distances and even carry other small humanoids for a short time. The Rito follow a tribal leader who is generally appointed by bloodline but they do not follow many strict laws other than cultural traditions. Rito are very competitive and will devise games to challenge themselves mentally and physically and compare their relative strengths.

Rito histories speak of a time when the race was flightless and had to use ropes and other tools to navigate the dangerous mountain terrain. Then the Rito found the sky spirit Valoo, who appeared as a gigantic and fearsome red dragon. Valoo granted the Rito his magical scales so that they may take to the skies like himself. Thus, the Rito are extremely grateful and reverent towards Valoo and would never think to disrespect him. The tribe will appoint a young female to serve as Valoo's attendant, to ensure that all sacred rites are performed perfectly. Traditionally the attendant will spend most of her time near Valoo and play the harp to calm his easily tripped temper.

While they do not live with other races, Rito enjoy traveling and have a penchant for becoming messengers due to their ability to cover vast distances quickly and without many provisions. Rito may seem aloof at first, but they quickly warm up to others who are friendly towards them and will welcome them into their homes. Many Rito are trained in combat from a young age, as they find it is best to always be prepared for any kind of attack. A good portion of the tribe will serve as guards to protect the Chieftan, the fledglings and the entrance to Valoo's lair. Even in small numbers the Rito are very capable at defending themselves and their homes because of their constant competition with each other to become better warriors.

*"Skett and Akoot" Original art by Hillary Esdaile, check out her website and deviantart page!

Rito Characteristics: carefree, loyal, competitive, perfectionist, traditional, outgoing, reverent

Example Rito Names:
Male: Akoot, Basht, Hoskit, Ilari, Koboli, Namali, Pashli, Skett
Female: Beroke, Dakapo, Eliji, Harmonee, Kadenz, Kapela, Oktev, Opari

Examples of Rito in the Legend of Zelda: Medli, Komali, Quill, Rito Chieftan

Background and History in the Points of Light Campaign Setting:
No one remembers what the Rito were like before the great dragon Valoo settled in their region, but what is known is that rather than rely on dragonborn or kobolds for protection and company, Valoo elevated a fledgling race into what is now the modern Rito. For the gift of flight, and his ultimate protection from the dangers of the world outside their mountainous homes, the Rito care for and faithfully serve the dragon Valoo. When other races were striving to build and maintain vast empires, the Rito sought only to exist, in peace with themselves and the land around them. Recently however, with darkness pushing in on the boundaries of their land some Rito have begun to leave their ancestral homes. Envoys for peace and travelers seeking to unite the various points of light, the path these Rito travel may just end up protecting their home and traditions, but forging a pact that will ensure the safety of various humanoids and their homes.

Rito Lands in Points of Light Campaign Setting:
Most Rito live in a mountain range dominated by an impressive volcano. They create homes in hallowed out bedrock and caves in the mountains. They use the surrounding lands around their home for harvest and consider it as much their home as the rocky croppings from which they keep their vigil. While non Rito are welcome in Rito territory they may find various portions of their lands inaccessable without the ability to fly or an impressive skill at climbing.

For more information about the Rito:

The Legend of Zelda and all official images are property of Nintendo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Paizo Announces Playtest Schedule for New Classes

Paizo announced today a schedule that will allow all you faithful Pathfinder players out there a chance to try out and give feedback on the forthcoming Advanced Player's Guide classes. They will be releasing two classes at a time starting with the Cavalier and Oracle classes in only four days. They are even making rules to use these new beta classes in their awesome organized play venture Pathfinder Society.

To check out the official announcement (and here the news from the horses mouth) please stop by their blog.

Of course Dungeon Brew will be taking apart each of these classes and letting you wonderful members of the Gamer Nation know exactly what the they have to offer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dungeon Brew Reviews: Undeafetable

When perusing your Pathfinder Core Book for feats there may be something you notice is missing:

Class Feats

That's right, for the most part the book is devoid of feats that alter, enhance, or play off of Class Features. Back when WotC supported 3.5 some of my favorite books were the Complete series. So I was a little sad that the book didn't have any neat little feats I could take that would make me say...a more unique cleric.

Enter LPJ Design's new line of products Undeafetable, short 2-4 page pdfs chock full of interesting and for the most part out of the box balanced feats for your class. Each product contains a plethora of feats for a single core class.

The Good
Most of the feats are balanced nicely, and add extra utility to a classes' defining features rather than replacing them or adding their own. The layout is simple and friendly, with feats laid out alphabetically on two collumn rows, and the black typeset is easily readable against the white background, which I find to be extremely important in pdf products.

The Evil
Remember what I said I said earlier about these feats enhancing abilities classes already have? Well, not all of them follow the formula. For instance there is a cleric feat that tramples over the schtick of the barbarian, allowing a cleric to rage. As if rekindling the 3.5 cleric's ability to steal the spotlight away from other classes wasn't enough, the ability isn't written in a concise manner, and raises some issues about how often you can use it.

Bang For Your Buck
Most of the Undeafetables are .99 cents, with three of them (for no known reason) being $1.25. However, if you get the bundles, you can get six beautiful pdfs for $5, a great deal considering that each pdf contains about 20 feats. These feats run the gamut, and you will find use in them no matter what level you play at.

The Final Verdict
All in all, I am very pleased with the product. I am looking forward to the rest of them. If they do well enough, I'm hoping they will do a series of racial feats. So cross your fingers and show your support for this great line of products.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

4th Edition Dnd Races of Zelda: Hylian

Over the following weeks I will be posting descriptions and racial traits for the most famous and best loved races in the Zelda Universe. I'll start today with the most obvious and famous: the Hylians, a race that is distinctive and apart from humans. More races will follow (including Gorons, Zora, Shiekah, Gerudo and many others!) as well as sample characters to match various campaigns in the Zelda Timeline. For now, you can simply insert these races to flavor your current 4th edition campaign and add more options for your players without buying additional supplements. Enjoy!


Average Height: 5'8" - 6'4"
Average Weight: 135-220 lb

Ability Scores: +2 Wisdom, + 2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 Squares
Vision: Normal

Languages: Hylian [Common]
Skill Bonuses: +2 Insight, +2 Religion
Goddesses' Protection: You have resistance radiant equal to 5 + 1/2 your level
Chosen People: You gain a +2 bonus to death saving throws
Alleviating Strike: You can use alleviating strike as an encounter power

Hylians are known as "the chosen people" of Hyrule. With their divine gifts, they excel at magic and leadership. This tends to make them very proud and many believe that humans are jealous of their favored status.

Play a Hylian if you want...
  • To have a proud heritage and strong connection with the gods
  • To have a burning ambition and strong belief in your own destiny
  • To be a member of a race that favors the cleric, paladin, invoker and avenger classes
Physical Qualities:
Hylians look very much like Humans except that they have protruding pointed ears as their main identifying feature. It is said they have longer ears so that they can hear the voices of the gods. Hylians tend to be taller and slimmer than the average human, with well defined bone structure and exceptional grace. Hylians also tend towards fair skin, blonde or red hair and blue eyes but can have any of the colors of the Human spectrum in addition to some rare members having unnatural shades such as purple or blue hair.

Hylians wear simple clothing with bright elaborate embroidery often displaying sacred and historically significant images. Regal blues, purples and pinks are common. Females wear an abundance of intricate gold jewelry with the triforce, the symbol of their godessess being most prominent.

Playing a Hylian:
Hylians tend to live in cities near the centers of power and are often in charge of local affairs or at the very least involved. They live simply and practically but that does not mean that they don't enjoy the finer things in life without being gaudy. Hylians can have a wide variety of professions but they excel at artistry and crafting. Due to their natural affinity with handling animals they also tend to raise and breed them and horses are an especially important part of their lives.

Hylians believe that they were particularly created by the three Goddesses which they worship: Din, Farore and Nayru. Each chooses one of the three Goddesses and the virtue she embodies (Power, Courage and Wisdom respectively) from a young age as a paragon to guide them. Hylians who venerate Din seek power in different forms whether it be physical, magical or political. They are very driven and will constantly try to increase their power for good or ill. Strong willed Hylians tend to choose Farore and try to live their lives without fear. They will charge into battle and refuse to yield no matter the odds and believe that with Courage they can accomplish their goals. Scholarly and intelligent Hylians honor Nayru as well as nobles, guards and leaders because she is said to have created the rule of law and reason. These individuals use their wisdom to lead, explore magical arts, heal the sick, and adventure to discover truth. Nothing will stop them in their quest for greater knowledge and they constantly seek to educate those around them.

Because of their belief in themselves as a chosen race of the Gods, Hylians tend to think lesser of the other races but that does not necessarily mean that they hate or subjugate them. Few Hylians take to outright xenophobia and most of them behave friendly and charitably to others, if perhaps too self-important. They live and work most often with Humans, being the closest to them physically, but they will adventure with most any of the traditionally benevolent races happily (Eladrin, Elves, Halflings, Dwarves, Gorons etc.) and are suspicious of the more violent and rare species (Dragonborn, Tieflings, Gerudo, Orcs, Moblins etc.)

Hylian Characteristics: proud, diplomatic, devout, valorous, charismatic, intuitive, idealist

Example Hylian Names
Hylians use simple one or two syllable names which are often passed down or significant in meaning
Auru, Fyer, Grog, Kafei, Mesa, Orca, Sakon, Shad
Agitha, Aryll, Astrid, Marin, Telma, Tetra

Examples of Hylians in the Legend of Zelda: Link, Zelda, Malon, King Daphnes Nohansen Hyrule, Anju

Background and History in the Points of Light Campaign Setting:
Around the campfires of the world and the hearths of city taverns stories are told of the magical kingdom of Hyrule. The land of Hyrule was both beautiful and bountiful, and blessed with peace. But of course, that peace would one day be shattered. A powerful villain arose and against his power the Hyrulian kingdom could not stand. Finally the Goddesses had to intervene, and buried the villain underneath a torrent of water, so much that the great kingdom of Hyrule sank beneath the waves.

Few Hylians alive truly remember what it was like to live in Hyrule, having had so many generations pass since the nation fell, but they do remember the glory of it. Filled with pride over their history, there is a saying that Hyrule will always exist in the hearts of her people.

Hylian Lands in Points of Light Campaign Setting:
Hylians have no land in the Points of Light, and are a rare sight in the vales. They often share lands with humans, although there exists the rare Hylian village or city district. These Hylian areas are filled with majestic architecture and fine craftsmanship in an attempt to pay homage to their glorious past, but they are an exception rather than the norm.

For more information about Hylians check out:
For more information about the Goddesses:

The Legend of Zelda and all official images are property of Nintendo

Darus; Imperial Spy and Dark Side Adept

*Photography by JD Hancock, be sure to check out his great Stormtrooper pictures.

[Below you'll find a fully realized NPC for Star Wars Saga Edition. Although he was made for Rebellion or Dark Times campaigns, I've included some tips for running him in both the Legacy and Knights of the Old Republic eras as well.]

The Protective Brother

Born in the undercity on the planet of Coruscant shortly before the Clone Wars Darus Boon lived the life of a scavenger with his younger sister Lilat. Darus and his sister lived in the polluted and dangerous undercity as orphans, scurrying about in the dark, desperately trying to survive and fervently dreaming of life on the surface.

This all changed when a group of stormtrooper cadets wandered into the undercity looking for sport. What they found was a ten year old Lilat and her teenaged brother. Comments were issued and refused, and taunts were thrown at the children. Finally a stormtrooper went too far and attempted to strike the girl.

Darus erupted with fury, literally.Pouring from his body came a bombardment of force lightning, slamming into the stormtroopers and killing all but two before they could escape the twisting tunnels of the undercity.

Their report made its way directly to the Emperor, who ordered a new group into the undercity, to find the boy and deliver a message.

A Golden Ticket

When the soldiers found the boy he was ready for them, dropping from the shadowed pipes behind them and killing two with his new found Force powers. The commander of the unit quickly called for repreive, and delivered his message.

"The emperor would like to raise you, care for you and your sister, and teach you the depths of your abilities." Thus Darus threw in his lot with the Empire, and began his path as a Dark Side Adept and spy.

With the knowledge that his sister was safe on the surface of Coruscant, Darus was free to ive into the total abandon of the Dark Side of the Force. He endured rigorous tests and though he would never ascend to the leve of a Sith Warrior his path was still valuable to the Emperor. As a force empowered spy Darus is capable of uncovering and relaying information to the Empire that a normal being would never be able to attain. And with the Bothans firmly aligned with the Rebel scum the Empire needs spies now more than ever.

Using Darus in Your Campaign

As written Darus makes a great spy for the Galactic Empire. If the heroes play as Rebels, Smugglers, or other "undesirables" Darus can come in with a helpful hand and secretly relay any intel he gathers on the PCs back to the Empire. In fact, it isn't too far out of the scope of possibilty for Darus to set the PCs up, just so he can come in looking like the hero. Alternatively, Darus can easily use his imperial connections to get rare items for the party, earning their trust, all the while never discovering just how he gets his goods.

Obviously this assumes that you are running a game in either the Force Unleashed or Rebellion eras, but with only a few minor changes he can easily work in a Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) or Legacy of the Force campaign.

In KOTOR his home planet is Taris, and he reports to the Sith stationed on Korriban, possibly even serving under Darth Malak or one of the three Sith Lords who procede him. In a Legacy of the Force campaign he works under the new sith Empire, and could be spying on the Alliance or even the Emperor in exile Roan Fel.

Medium Human scout 1/noble 3
Destiny 1; Force 5; Dark Side 10
Init +2; Senses Perception +10
Languages Basic

Defenses Ref 16 (flat-footed 16), Fort 14, Will 16
hp 40; Threshold 14

Speed 6 squares
Ranged blaster pistol +2 (3d4+2) or
Ranged blaster carbine +2 (3d8+2)
Base Atk +2; Grp +1
Special Actions Shake It Off
Force Powers Known (Use the Force +10); Force grip, Force lightning, mind trick, negate energy

Abilities Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 16
Talents Connections, Improved Stealth, Spontaneous Skill
Feats Force Sensitivity, Force Training, Skill Training (Deception), Skill Training (Persuasion), Weapon Proficiency (pistols, rifles, simple weapons)
Skills Deception +10, Endurance +8, Perception +10, Persuasion +10, Stealth +7, Survival +10, Use the Force +10
Possessions hold-out blaster pistol, blaster carbine encrypted comlink, personal holoprojector, utility belt

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dungeon Brew Reviews: Martial Flavor

[The following article is part of the Small Press Week blog carnival being run by RPG Blog II. Many bloggers are coming together for this event to check out some of the great things about, and coming out of smaller rpg publishers. If you'd like to see what the other bloggers have covered this week, drop by Moebius Adventures for a complete list of links.]

Chaotic Shiny Productions
was nice enough to send me an advance copy of their upcoming title Martial Flavor, and I'd be remiss if I didn't share what I've learned about the book. Keep in mind while reading this that the book still has sometime before publication and is still undergoing some revisions and enhancements.

The Good Vs Evil Axis

Martial Flavor is a unique book detailing five martial traditions for use in your 4th edition D&D campaign. Each Chapter details a martial tradition, complete with backstory, feats, and new powers.

The Good
This book is presented in an easy to read format, with each new chapter detailing one of the five traditions, and taking us from backstory and hierarchy all the way to which 4th edition races interact with the tradition and how. This is followed by example adventurers, and new mechanics for making the organization come alive at the game table. The fluff and the crunch in this book is balanced amazingly well, with plenty of things both GMs and Players can grab onto and spin into interesting plot points and defining features. As I read through the book I couldn't help but think about how great it would be to play a Daikort Mercenary or a Legionnaire. Each chapter brings the tradition to life with in depth background, various examples of members, how they dress, and how their society views both themselves and in many cases the world around them. I was reminded of why I own so many roleplaying books, many of them are just as entertaining a read as a they are a useful resource.

Martial Flavor is a proud addition to that design philosophy. How many times have I looked through my Martial Power book and wished it went into greater detail on what it meant to be a fighter? Well, Martial Flavor offers plenty of material for that. With this book in hand you never have to worry again about your ranger looking like any other ranger. Make the character stand out, make him a Fox in a Daikort Pack, picking his way through a shady marshland with the greatest of skill. Perhaps what is so great about this book is that it not only helps you create unique characters, but it gives you in game mechanics to make those decisions actually mean something. For example if you are an Ellesin fighter, then you are the king of mounted combat, able to take brand new feats and powers to reinforce just how good you are at mounted combat.

The Evil
I know it is a growing trend with RPG book these days, but this book just doesn't have an index. The bookmarks in the pdf are amazing, but I'm one of those weird individuals who likes to print off his pdfs for long perusals in the sunlight. Beyond that, I have one word to share with you: Background. The backgrounds in this book are more akin to those that appeared in Dragon for the Scales of War (SoW) adventure path. As such they are a little more powerful than the streamlined system that is presented in the Player's Handbook 2 and Eberron Player's Guide. That having been said, some of the backgrounds even blow their SoW cousins out of the water. Chief among these is the Ikanoi, which gives you cold resistance equal to either Wisdom bonus or Constitution bonus whichever is lower, and as such is definitely something that could level with you, especially if you are playing a shaman. Compare that feature with the Sijara's background which gives them Bluff and Diplomacy and class skills and +1 to each and you see some variance in background utility even amongst the book itself.

Bang For Your Buck

So you are thinking about picking Martial Flavor up from Chaotic Shiny. Well, it retails for 19.95 so lets take a moment and examine what you get. In this 56 page tome of a gaming pdf you get an astounding 88 feats, which cover both Heroic and Paragon tier, as well as new Multiclass feats. Some of you may be wondering why one would need new multiclass feats, so be amazed because this book has 12 alternative class features to further customize your martial warrior. You also get several new utility powers for your martial classes that really flesh out how your martial warrior is different from your typical Points of Light model. But lets go back to those feats because there is one thing I'd really like to point out. A whole slew of those feats are for characters who excel at Mounted Combat, and some of the new powers and alternative class features help support the concept. If you have EVER wanted to play a mounted character in D&D 4e, then this is the book to buy, even if you don't use the tradition that goes with them. Heck, even if you want to have a mounted character from a different power source, you will find what you need in those feats. Though obviously if that's all you want you may want to look elsewere for your mount fix.

Now, what if you are a GM? Well, then this is still a pretty good resource for you, although admittedly you are missing out on some of the fun by not being able to play any of the neat new character concepts this book helps deliver. But that doesn't keep you from introducing the Legionnaires of Arytis, or throwing your part against a well trained Daikort Pack. You can easily stat out some great NPCs that will ride both sides of the ally/enemy fence. I know I keep talking about them, but I myself will be dropping the Daikort into my home campaign, they are just too great of a DM tool to not use, and the bevy of information on each tradition gives you what you need to not only run adventures featuring these warriors, but entire campaigns built around them.

The Final Verdict
If you have a martial character, or you plan on playing one then this book belongs on your digital bookshelf. The sheer number of new feats and powers and other goodies contained therein means you WILL find something of use even if you never use the martial traditions that are linked to them. As just one example you can easily mine out the entire mounted combat tidbits (like the Mounted Fighter talent and the list of racial rider feats) and use them as is. As for GMs, since the GSL came out I've purchased my fair share of products, and I haven't seen many that come to the level of dedication, balance, and just plain cool things to put in your game. The text is well written and evocative, the sidebars are placed well and are informative. Here's the gist of things, if I was to write about all the great things in this lengthy pdf I would have to go on for pages, because there is so much great material contained within.

All of that having been said, I can understand if the price tag turns you off of the book. In today's market, and especially without having seen for yourself just how much material is packed in here it can be tough to make that kind of commitment. Comparatively though, this is essentially five products at $4 each. Each one containing about 22 feats, plenty of utility powers and other tools and material to boot. Thinking of it that way makes the price make a little more sense. That having been said, if your interested, but just haven't made up your mind yet you can see a few excerpts at this page of Chaotic Shiny's website. In my opinion you should save up some cash and mark November 1st on your calendar so you can be one of the first to spice up your adventuring life with some Martial Flavor.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pick Up PC, Khava: Dragonborn Rogue

[Below you'll find the third of five Pick Up PCs for eleventh level play, each one can be downloaded and opened using the D&D Character Builder program. All five are from the Eberron campaign setting, although they can easily be ported to another campaign world if needed.]

Download Khava for use with the DDI Character Builder
Download Khava in PDF format

Although she spreads a fallacy that she is from Argonnessen, Khava is actually from the jungle regions of Q'barra, a remnant from a shattered and weak dragonborn tribe. The reason she lies is that Khava wants to be something, wants to make a name for herself that will rival the stories of the once proud Dragonorn Empire in her people's fables. By linking herself to the mysterious continent, she can rienvent herself, from jungle native, to street urchin, to legendary warrior.

She met the Ironshield brothers in the city of Stormreach while saving up for passage to Xendrick, where she hoped to start her legend. By helping Eberk to save his brother the two were indebted to Khava, and they have helped her to forge her story ever since.

Glory is Khava's overarching goal. With fame will come a vindication of all the great stories she took pride in as a child. Within her heart rests the fires of a grand dragonborn warrior, part of a tradition that stretches back to time immesuarable for the races of Khorvaire.

Khava also finds herself drawn to discover more about her people, and the dragons and their prophecy. She is always pushing the others in the group to explore more ruins that have a connection to dragons or the dragonmarked houses.

Khava has a tendency to lie. Not to be hurtful or even to get what she wants, Khava lies to make her life feel more important and wonderful than it actually is. In her mind she embellishes details to make them sound more exciting and to spotlight her unique talents.


Crimson Reversal

With this combo Khava gains complete control of any duel.

The Setup
Khava must be adjacent to a bloodied enemy and bloodied herself, and her only remaining encounter attack power must be Imperiling Strike.

The Execution
1st: Khava begins this combo by attacking with Imperiling Strike, decreasing the opponents AC defense by 4.
2nd: Khava uses her minor action to activate Hidden Blade, giving her combat advantage against her opponent for her next attack.
3rd: Khava uses her action point to give herself another standard action. In addition, due to her paragon path, she now has a +4 untyped bonus to attack rolls.
4th: With her extra standard action Khava attacks using Rogue's Recovery (with a +7 to the attack roll, against an AC reduced by 4 points for +55% chance to hit), and since she has combat advantage the attack deals (with all items and bonuses taken into account) 7d8+1d6+17. Needless to say, if the enemy isn't dead, he will be soon.

Using Khava in Your Campaign
Khava can easily be ported to most D&D campaigns, provided the dragonborn race was at some point renowned for their martial prowess. Alternatively, perhaps Khava's tribe made up those stories, and she now struggles against a world that knows nothing of the fables that made her who she is.

Using Khava as an NPC
As an ally Khava makes an interesting friend of dragonborn characters, constantly pushing those PCs to excell and do their race proud. As an opponent, Khava could be working for a sinister dragon, honing her skills as its deadly assassin.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pick Up PC, Eberk Ironshield: Dwarven Fighter

[Below you'll find the second of five Pick Up PCs for eleventh level play, each one can be downloaded and opened using the D&D Character Builder program. All five are from the Eberron campaign setting, although they can easily be ported to another campaign world if needed.]

Download Eberk Ironshield for use with the DDI Character Builder

Download Eberk Ironshield in PDF format


Eberk Ironshield, son of Eramus, son of Dorahn, current head of the Ironsheild family is Evard the Explorer's elder brother and devoted bodyguard. When the two were young Eberk trained all day long everyday to become a mighty dwarven warrior, he studied tactics, went through rigorous physical excersize, and sparred with the most skilled dwarves Stormreach had to offer him.

This life of martial discipline was ended prematurely when his brother Evard disappeared into the twisting tunnels of a Stormreach sewer. Eberk abandoned his routine, and began the search alone. Things were grim until he found Khava, a dragonborn from Argonnessen who traveled to the city to find her destiny.

She led Eberk through the sewers, and along with a few of Eberk's warrior companions they freed Evard from the grip of a clan of hobgoblins. From that point Eberk vowed never to let Evard go off by himself again.


Eberk lives to protect his brother from harm, to bring honor to his family, and to perfect his skills in the art of war. Of course, Evard's whimsical nature usually makes it hard to find time to practice, and running from place to place hardly increases the clan's holdings. Because of this Eberk often finds his brother's antics taxing, even as he resigns himself to the half-brained schemes. He is first and foremost an older brother, but more than that he is an honorable and brave dwarven warrior.


Eberk is brave, somber and collected. Although he rarely talks or draws attention to himself, he is always listening and watching, constantly assessing the situation. Evard is a selfless and confident man who expects more from Evard and his companions than they often give him. Strive to lead by example, become a paragon of hard work and a champion of the moral high road.


Crushing Challenge
With this technique there is only one way to escape Eberk's attacks, death itself.

The Setup
Eberk must be within five squares of the opponent and have a straight line of travel available.

The Execution
1st: Eberk charges towards the enemy using Shield Bash
2nd: Eberk uses his move action to close with the enemy.
3rd: Eberk uses an action point to attack the opponent with Blinding Smash
4th: On Eberks next turn attack the opponent with Pinning Smash.
5th: Obliterate your opponent.

Using Eberk in your Campaign

Eberk can easily be used in a campaign other than Eberron, other than his city of origin there is nothing in his character that ties him overtly to the continent of Khorvaire.

Using Eberk as an NPC

As a DM you can use Eberk as a skilled bodyguard, either protecting a prominent ally of the PCs, or more interestingly a hated rival or enemy. With Eberk's vast amount of healing abilities (a second wind that restores 50% of his health, and two dailies that allow him to heal on a successful attack) Eberk could easily become a reoccuring opponent who will quickly become a thorn in the PCs side.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pick Up PC: Evard the Explorer: Dwarven Artificer

*Art by Storn A. Cook, used under Creative Commons

[Below you'll find the first of five Pick Up PCs for eleventh level play, each one can be downloaded and opened using the D&D Character Builder program. All five are from the Eberron campaign setting, although they can easily be ported to another campaign world if needed.]

Download Evard the Explorer as a DDI Character Builder file
Download Evard the Explorer as a PDF file


Evard the Explorer is a dwarven artificer from the city of Stormreach. When he was a child and his older brother Eberk was learning the dwarven arts of combat, Evard was always off exploring the city, sometimes wandering into the dangerous sewers beneath the city. It was during one of these forays that Evard found his love.

Inside one of the many twisting passages that makes up the Stormreach sewers Evard found a tunnel leading to an ancient Dharkanni ruin, filled with mysterious artifacts and ancient architecture. Evard was enamored, and hardly noticed the hobgoblins sneaking up behind him.

Eberk saved him, leading a foray of warriors into the sewers they tracked him with the help of a dockside tough named Khava. From that point, Eberk never took his eyes off Evard. Unfourtunetely for Eberk, Evard had a taste of adventure and history and would never be the same.

Evard poured himself into the study of ancient arcane arts, and history. He lent his services to those who would take him on their quests, and quickly found regular employment with the Morgrave University, exploring ruins both on Khorvaire and within the deepest jungles of Xendrik.


Evard is fascinated with history and the arcane. Sadly he has no long term goal in mind, but floats from job to job and place to place enamored with the wonders around him. For Evard life is about adventure and nothing speaks to him more than the glorious remains of the past.


While playing Evard feel free to break dwarven stereotypes. Evard isn't somber, he isn't concerned with honor or his family's respect. Evard is a flighty, curious man who is willing to endanger himself (and by extension his allies) to find a shred of interesting lore on a forgotten culture.

Despite the problems his work encounters (or creates) Evard stays optimistic, certain in his safety even as he is seperated from the surface world by collapsing ruins. This is largly due to his older Eberk always being around, and if Evard finds himself alone if is highly likely that the situation would chip away at his happy demeanor.


Shatter the Shell
This move allows Evard to pound on an enemy as efficiently as any frontline warrior, perhaps even better.

The Setup
Make sure you are within ten squares of the enemy, but with no other opponents adjacent to you.

The Execution
1st: Attack the opponent with Altered Luck, and since you are within range give yourself a +2 to your next attack.
2nd: Spend an action point and attack the opponent with Brittle-Skin Missile
3rd: At the end of this turn, or the start of the next turn close with your opponent and start attacking with Aggravating Force, giving you a continuous +2 to hit with your next attack. Also, since you have White Lotus Enervation, they take a -1 to their AC until the end of your next turn.
4th: Continue step 3, enjoying your +3 to hit and +5 to damage.

Using Evard In Your Campaign

Using Evard in a different campaign doesn't require much of a change, just rework his background to be another city, and instead of Dharkanni ruins, he discovers a different ruin left by a group in your campaign world.

Using Evard as an NPC

Evard could make for an interesting employer for the PCs. Hiring them for protection and then occasionally putting the party in danger "In the name of research".

Alternatively, if the party has a habit of exploring ruins Evard and his friends could be reoccurring rivals, constantly striving to do things faster and better than the PCs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pick Up PCs

[Image created by The Artifex]

First off I want to apologize for missing my posts on Saturday and Sunday, life and a contest I'm working on for Dungeon Brew have taken up a little more time than I would have liked. That caveat aside I have an announcement:

A couple weeks ago one of my gaming groups did character creation for Spirit of the Century and I was amazed at how fast and fun the experience was. Compared to 3.5 or even 4e character creation (which can take some time even with the group using Character Builder) it was a breeze. This made me think back to the product Dungeon Delve a book of ready made single-night adventures for 4e D&D.

That book is perfect for the D&D pick up game. The problem I've had running the Delves however is the time investment of character creation. By the time five people have made and printed their characters (even with two computers running the builder) we've already used most of our time or ran out completely.

Thus I'm starting a whole new feature here for the 4e Players in the audience who want a little pickup. I'll be developing parties of every level from first to thirtieth, complete with backgrounds and teamwork maneuvers. Just the thing to kickstart a pick-up game using the Delve format.

Alternatively, if you are a DM, you can use these characters as fully fleshed out characters or rival adventuring groups. Ready made NPCs with fleshed out background, pregenerated connections, and devastating tactics to sprinkle into your campaign as you will.

I'm sure you'll find the new feature, to be called Pick-Up PCs a helpful addition to the Dungeon Brew lineup.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dungeon Brew Reviews: War of Worldcraft

This is going to be a change of pace for me that I hope becomes a regular part of the Dungeon Brew experience. I mentioned awhile back that I wanted to diversify the content here and this is one of the steps towards that goal.

I recently took a look at Black Wyrm Games new adventure "War of Worldcraft" as part of a blog carnival being organized by Ed Healy of too many podcasts to mention (most notably Atomic Array) and I'm going to share my discovery with you.

The Good vs Evil Axis

War of Worldcraft is an exiting adventure that gives even the most harried of GMs a fully-fleshed and highly entertaining adventure with no necessary prep time. Everything the gamemaster needs is right there, from in depth descriptions of villains to tables on the defenses of every object your players could dream of interacting with.

The Good: The adventure is a highly entertaining read, written with a level of tongue-in-cheek wit that really helps sets this product apart. The game can be played with only a quick read through, meaning that even the busiest of GMs can easily run the module without having to drop hours into customizing it for his group. Oh, and speaking of customizing the author Michael Satran has done a great job of providing advice and extra content for the game master who does want to expand on the base adventure. The product is very modular, and even if you never play the adventure the various villains in the book and the information given on the MMORPG Megaworld can help to inspire adventures of their own.

The Evil: One of the biggest issues I had with this product as I ran through it was the font they used because I could barely tell apart the bolded words from the unbolded. As you may have guessed this is a very minor detail, but it was something that bugged me as I was reading through the pdf. Another thing that I think would have helped this product out was some sort of table of contents, while the pdf has quite the in-depth bookmark system I'm certain that the lack of some sort of table of contents can make finding your spot after flipping pages or taking a break difficult.

Bang for Your Buck
The hard copy of this book clocks in at 9.95 and the pdf sells for $6 even at So, what do you get for your money? The adventure can easily span two nights of play as written, and Michael Satran includes various plot seeds, alternative battles, and other extras that can stretch the module to fill about five nights of hardcore gaming.

Beyond the extra material included for the module, there is real detail given as to how to use the material in the book that an enterprising GM can use to fill up an entire campaign of play. The owner of this wonderful 43 book gets two super-powered villains, various robotic adversaries, a mysterious and evil organization that has the power to create super-villains, several fully-realized locations that can be visited again and again, and of course the adventure that ties it all together.

The Final Verdict
This is easily one of the best modules I've seen all year. And even if you never intend to run the game the vast amount of material packed into those 43 pages can easily be shaped and molded into whatever you want making this one of the most useful adventures of 2009. The book was well-written, and if you use the pdf and its bookmarks well organized (although the physical copy can't quite live up to the electronic version in that department).

I definitely recommend picking this book up if you intend to run Heroes Sixth Edition, and although it loses a lot of its utility with a different system this adventure can easily be modified to work with any superhero game system.

Want to learn more about War of Worldcraft? Read on...

Drop by BlackWyrm today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Release of DDO Unlimited

So, from time to time I like to let you guys know about things like contests, or free games I find to play. Today is the gold-mine, Dungeons and Dragons Online Unlimited has just released. I was part of the beta and let me tell you, this game is amazing. It's a fun dungeon crawling MMORPG that utilizes the 3rd system of the world's most popular RPG.

Oh, and its free. That's right, free. The graphics are on par with World of Warcraft, it uses the D&D ruleset, it is set in the world of Eberron, there are literally hundreds of hours of gameplay built into the game...and it is free.

So what are you waiting for, go download it (its about seven gigs for the high graphic version so make some room) and start playing. I know I am and I'd love to see you there.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

VG Meet Dnd: The Tank from Left 4 Dead

[Below you will find a new 4th Edition Monster converted from the popular game Left 4 Dead]

The Tank

Sometimes a zombie hulk goes down, gets back up but does not fall again. Some parties were lucky to drop him the first time, others are caught by surprise when the shambling giant rises a second time. In either case the zombie hulk has taken the first step to becoming the Tank.

When a zombie hulk rises a second time it is due to a large influx of necrotic energy from the Shadowfell. Normally the hulk is destroyed and this link is severed, but in some cases the zombie survives and continues to advance, using the Shadowfell as a battery for its consumption. These zombies grow in size and power, the result is the tank.

Tank Tactics
The prefers to start off the battle with it's basic melee the Hammer Fist, and once the opponent is prone use Ground Pound to ensure it stays down forever. If an opponent attempts to leave the Tank will grab the nearest large object, such as a cart and hurl it at them attempting to drop them right then and there.

Tank Lore
A character knows the following with a successful Religion check.

DC15: The tank is a powerful zombie whose punches can knock a grown man off his feet.
DC20: The tank is an evolved version of the zombie hulk, and due to the dual nature of its death is in an interesting state of decay. It's dry flesh is very susceptible to fire attacks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Oswald the Retired Holy Guard

A fellow RPGBN member by the name of Save vs Pointy Stick came up with a great idea for how to come up with characters for your next roleplaying game by using the Television Tropes website. His method consists of clicking the random item button of the tvtropes page until you come up with three character tropes and then tying those together. From my own experience, I suggest searching

So using his method I've detailed the following for your use in 3.5 D&D.

The Paragon
Knight in Sour Armor
Knight Errant

Oswald lived a life of service to the people, as a member of the Holy Guard of Ahrian he served his king with distinction and honor. Oswald stood proud and noble, a fine example for the people of his kingdom to follow. Thus it was a huge disappointment when Oswald discovered the king's goal of war. Unable to pursuade the king of Ahrian to abandon the cuase of war Oswald resigned from the Holy Guard and now travels his homeland preaching peace and protecting the innocent from the ravages of the war that even now threatens the fledgling nation of Ahrian.

Using Oswald in your Campaign
Obviously I've laid a lot of campaign specific detail into Oswalds description, this needn't be the case. I created that background based around the three tropes linked above. I suggest reading the tropes, and then creating your own background, after all as the DM you are the best source of knowledge about your campaign.

My personal suggestions would be to use Oswald as a mentor for the characters, or with a group of neutral or even evil aligned PCs Oswald makes a good adversary or rival.

Oswald the Wanderer CR8
Human Paladin 4/Fighter 4
LG Medium Humanoid (human)
Init +5; Senses Listen +2, Spot +2
Aura courage (10ft, +4 on saves against fear)
Languages Common, Elven

AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22
hp 55 (8 HD)
Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +6

Speed 20ft (4 squares)
Melee +1 Longsword +12 (1d8 +4/19-20)
Base +8; Grp +10
Atk Options Improved Disarm, smite good 1/day
Special Actions lay on hands 8 points/day turn undead 5/day (+2, 2d6+4)
Combat Gear wand of cure light wounds (1st)
Paladin Spells Prepared (CL 2nd)
1st---cure light wounds
Spell-Like Abilities
At will---detect evil

Abilities Str 16, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 14
SQ aura of good, divine grace, divine health
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Investigator, Knight's Training*, Mounted Combat, Negotiator
Skills Diplomacy +13, Handle Animal +13, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +6, Knowledge (religion) +6, Ride +14, Sense Motive +9
Possessions combat gear plus +1 Full Plate, +1 Longsword, +1 Heavy Steel Shield, bedroll, explorer's outfit, flint and tinder, signet ring (order of the Holy Guard of Ahrian), silver holy symbol of Heironeous, and a belt pouch containing 80 pp, 182gp, and 9sp.

*Knight's Training is a feat from the Eberron Campaign Setting that allows a paladin to multiclass without penalty, if you are playing without the material from that book feel free to change Knight's Training to Skill Focus: Diplomacy to further enhance Oswald's reason over violence nature.

Whiteheart Heavy Warhorse Mount
Oswald's mount Whiteheart uses the same statistics as a regular heavy warhorse, just change the AC to 20 and he carries the following equipment

Possessions Banged Mail Barding, Bit and Bridle, Military Saddle, Saddlebags, Tent

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dax Bane, the Shadow Centurion of Information

Below you'll find a villain for Spirit of the Century, the Pulp Pick-up game of non-stop action by Evil Hat Productions. In particular, you can use good old Dax here to bring the Nazi's into the game a little earlier than World War II. He works well as part of a secret sect of the National Socialism Party (Nazi) with resources on par with (Beware: link contains spoilers) Neville Sinclair from the Rocketeer. Well, without further ado, I give you Dax Bane the Shadow Centurion on Information.

Dax's Background

Dax was born in Germany on December 31st, 1900, (to be exact just before the clock struck midnight) to a brave German soldier and his elegant wife. He was their second, and last, child. His parents wasted no expense in seeing Dax educated, and his gift for knowledge was astounding so great in fact that he was invited to study at Cambridge (in Britain) at the age of 13.

Of course, the Great War started not long after. And when Dax was able to finally return to Germany in 1919 it was to discover that his father and brother died in battle, and his mother of heartache shortly thereafter. It was to find his great homeland in shambles, shackled with the financial duty to pay for the war. For Dax, it was the end of one life, and the doorway to the next.

Dax grew disgruntled and angry as many German were. But Dax had a knack for gathering people, Dax had a gift for finding things out, and Dax's unique talents landed him a spot in the new National Socialism party.

Today Dax works for the Nazis finding rare arcane lore and uncovering salacious information about the party's political foes. Dax dreams of the return of a grand German Empire, and with the resources of his party, and his unique talents for uncovering and retaining knowledge he may have all the pieces he needs.

Dax Bane, Fascist Spy
Shadow Centurion; Nazi Spymaster
Significant Aspects: "I Know a Guy" * German * Natural Leader * "For the Fatherland" * Eavesdropper * The Nazi Party * Social Chameleon * Well Traveled * Great Expectations * Death in the Family

Great_____Deceit, Empathy
Good_____Investigation, Leadership, Rapport
Fair______Alertness, Fists, Guns, Resources
Average___Burglary, Intimidation, Resolve, Sleight of Hand, Stealth

Academics: Linguist
Deceit: Clever Disguise, Mimicry, Master of Disguise
Leadership: Personal Conspiracy, Minions x2, Reinforcements

Dax has a number of minions at his disposal, but he tends to work alone, only bringing in the minions when he expects a fight.

Health: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]
Composure: [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Fate Points: 10

Using Dax Bane in your Game
Dax Bane makes a great hidden villain with his Master of Disguise skill (which allows him to be any nameless character in any scene by spending a fate point). He has a fair number of minions at his disposal, and call on a member of the Nazi party for assistance as well which means that he has more than enough assistance if he finds himself at odds with the Century Club.

Dax is perfect for bringing a little Nazi into your game, after all IGN did rate them the number 1 most memorable villain.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Samurai Class for Pathfinder

I run a bi-weekly game here for my local group using Monte Cook's Dungeon-a-Day campaign. Now that Pathfinder is out (and it has made a significant attempt at stopping the 10-minute adventuring day) I've decided to switch on over to that from 3.5 edition D&D. This would be a seamless transition, especially since Jason Bulhman himself has been doing conversions over at the Dungeon-a-Day blog, but of course I have a snag.

One of my players has himself a Samurai. Hiro is an important part of the group, and an interesting part of the game. Sadly the Fighter and other Pathfinder classes just don't have the right flavor for Hiro. I'm sure the guys over at Paizo will get around to doing an oriental adventure supplement, but for now I have a passion to play Pathfinder and a player who has a passion for his blade wielding knight from the eastern lands.

To that end I've rebuilt the Samurai for use with the Pathfinder ruleset.


In the east great warriors rise up, dedicated to justice and honor these courageous warriors serve their culture as knights and lords. Masters of the katana, the symbol of their office, samurai refine the act of taking lives into a beautiful art. Able to excert enough force to strike foes at distance and sever an opponent in two with a single swipe of their magnificient blades the samurai strikes fear into the hearts of their opponents. In their homeland the samurai is an unbeatable force, striking a powerful blow for order.

Role: Samurai are powerful melee combatants. Able to call upon their powerful resolve to see themselves through the most deadly of battles the samurai serves her allies as heavily armored warrior so skilled with the blade that they often defeat a foe before that enemy ever has a chance to strike back.

Class Skills
The samurai's class skills are Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (history) (Int), Knowledge (nobility) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis).
Skill Ranks per level: 2 + Int modifier

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial
1st+1+2+0+0Sword of Office, Kiai Shout 1/day
2nd+2+3+0+0Battojutsu Savant
3rd+3+3+1+1Art of the Draw
4th+4+4+1+1Menace +2, Kiai Shout 2/day
5th+5+4+1+1Bonus Feat
6th+6/+1+5+2+2Deadly Draw
7th+7/+2+5+2+2Kiai Shout 3/day
8th+8/+3+6+2+2Menace +4
9th+9/+4+6+3+3Mass Menace
10th+10/+5+7+3+3Kiai Shout 4/day, Bonus Feat
11th+11/+6/+1+7+3+3Lethal Draw
12th+12/+7/+2+8+4+4Menace +6
13th+13/+8/+3+8+4+4Kiai Shout 5/day
14th+14/+9/+4+9+4+4Ki Shockwave 7d6
15th+15/+10/+5+9+5+5Bonus Feat
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+5Menace +8, Kiai Shout 6/day, Ki Shockwave 8d6
17th+17/+12/+7/+2+10+5+5Fatal Draw
18th+18/+13/+8/+3+11+6+6Ki Shockwave 9d6
19th+19/+14/+9/+4+11+6+6Kiai Shout 7/day
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+6Menace +10, Bonus Feat, Ki Shockwave 10d6

Class Features:
All of the following are class features for the samurai.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
Samurai are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), but not with shields.

Sword of Office (Ex):
Samurai have a symbol of office known as the odachi (masterwork greatsword). Samurai receive an heirloom odachi at 1st level. Because samurai train extensively with the blade, they receive Weapon Focus (Odachi) as a bonus feat.

Kiai Shout (Ex):
Once per day a samurai can give a great cry that bolsters his resolve. When the samurai shouts (a swift action) he can add his charisma bonus (minimum 1) to his attack and damage rolls against his foes.

In addition, while kiai shout is in effect, the samurai gains a bonus to his Fortitude and Will saves equal to his Charisma modifier (if any).

The kiai shout ability remains in effect for a number of rounds equal to the amount of levels the character has in the samurai class. At 4th level, and every three levels thereafter, the samurai may make one additional kiai shout per day (to a maximum of seven at 19th level).

Battojutsu Savant (Ex):
At 2nd level the samurai has learned the art of the draw, gaining Quick Draw as a bonus feat, but only when he draws the odachi.

Art of the Draw (Ex):
At 3rd level and every level thereafter, when a samurai begins combat with his odachi sheathed he gains the benefit of the Improved Initiative feat.

At 4th level a samurai's mere presence is enough to cause opponents to falter. A samurai gains a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks made to demoralize an opponent. At 8th level and every four levels thereafter this bonus increase by +2 (to a maximum of +10 at 20th level).

Bonus Feats: At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter the samurai gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be chosen from the following list:

Blinding Critical, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Critical Mastery, Deafening Critical, Double Slice, Exhausting Critical, Great Cleave, Improved Critical, Intimidating Prowess, Lunge, Power Attack, Sickening Critical, Staggering Critical, Stunning Critical, Tiring Critical.

Deadly Draw (Ex):
At 6th level the Samurai is able to produce an incredible amount of force with a single cut, gaining the Vital Strike feat for free even if he does not meet the prerequisites, but only when wielding the odachi.

Mass Menace (Ex):
At 9th level the samurai has cultivated such prowess and fame that his presence can make even large groups of enemies falter in his presence. As a standard action the samurai can use intimidate to demoralize all opponents within 30ft.

Lethal Draw (Ex):
At 11th level the samurai learns to focus his chi along his blade. While wielding the odachi the samurai is treated as having Improved Vital Strike even if he does not ordinarily qualify for the feat.

Ki Shockwave (Su):
At 14th level, while under the effects of the kiai shout and not fatigued a samurai may swing his blade with such force that he can attack enemies far outside of his reach. The samurai may send a shockwave (a standard action) through the air towards an opponent who must be within 20ft. This attack deals 1d6 damage per half your samurai level. The enemy receives a reflex save for half damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your samurai level + your Charisma modifier. Using this ability ends the effect of a kiai shout after which the samurai is fatigued for a number of rounds equal to his half his class level.

Fatal Draw (Ex):
At 17th level the samurai can exert a superhuman amount of force behind his attacks. While wielding the odachi the samurai gains the Greater Vital Strike feat even if he normally does not meet the prerequisites.

Alternative Samurai Abilities

To play a samurai more akin to the 3.5 version use the table and class features below:

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial
1st+1+2+0+0Sword of Office, Kiai Shout 1/day
2nd+2+3+0+0Two as One
3rd+3+3+1+1Iaijutsu Savant
4th+4+4+1+1Kiai Shout 2/day, Menace +2
5th+5+4+1+1Bonus Feat
6th+6/+1+5+2+2Two-Swords Adept
7th+7/+2+5+2+2Kiai Shout 3/day
8th+8/+3+6+2+2Menace +4
9th+9/+4+6+3+3Mass Menace
10th+10/+5+7+3+3Kiai Shout 4/day, Bonus Feat
11th+11/+6/+1+7+3+3Two-Swords Sensei
12th+12/+7/+2+8+4+4Menace +6
13th+13/+8/+3+8+4+4Kiai Shout 5/day
14th+14/+9/+4+9+4+4Ki Shockwave 7d6
15th+15/+10/+5+9+5+5Bonus Feat
16th+16/+11/+6/+1+10+5+5Kiai Shout 6/day, Menace +8, Ki Shockwave 8d6
17th+17/+12/+7/+2+10+5+5Daisho Kensei
18th+18/+13/+8/+3+11+6+6Ki Shockwave 9d6
19th+19/+14/+9/+4+11+6+6Kiai Shout 7/day
20th+20/+15/+10/+5+12+6+6Menace +10, Bonus Feat, Ki Shockwave 10d6

Weapon and Armor Proficiency:
Samurai are proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and with all types of armor (heavy, medium, and light), but not with shields.

Daisho Proficiency (Ex):
Samurai have a symbol of office known as the daisho. A daisho is a set of two swords, the katana (a masterwork bastard sword) and the wakizashi (a masterwork short sword). Samurai receive an heirloom set of daisho, at first level. Because a samurai is trained in their use, he gains Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) as a bonus feat.

Kiai Shout (Ex):
Once per day a samurai can give a great cry that bolsters his resolve. When the samurai shouts (a swift action) he can add his charisma bonus (minimum 1) to his attack and damage rolls against his foes.

In addition, while kiai shout is in effect, the samurai gains a bonus to his Fortitude and Will saves equal to his Charisma modifier (if any).

The kiai shout ability remains in effect for a number of rounds equal to the amount of levels the character has in the samurai class. At 4th level, and every three levels thereafter, the samurai may make one additional kiai shout per day (to a maximum of seven at 19th level).

Two as One (Ex):
At 2nd level the samurai has gained such skill with his daisho that when wielding only a katana and a wakizashi he is treated as having the Two-weapon Fighting feat (even if he doesn't meet the prerequisites).

Iajutsu Savant (Ex):
At 3rd level the samurai has learned the art of the draw, gaining Quick Draw as a bonus feat, but only when he draws the katana or wakizashi.

At 4th level a samurai's mere presence is enough to cause opponents to falter. A samurai gains a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks made to demoralize an opponent. At 8th level and every four levels thereafter this bonus increase by +2 (to a maximum of +10 at 20th level).

Bonus Feats: At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter the samurai gains a bonus feat in addition to those gained from normal advancement. These bonus feats must be chosen from the following list:

Blinding Critical, Cleave, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Critical Mastery, Deafening Critical, Double Slice, Exhausting Critical, Great Cleave, Improved Critical, Intimidating Prowess, Lunge, Power Attack, Sickening Critical, Staggering Critical, Stunning Critical, Tiring Critical.

Two-swords Adept (Ex):
At 6th level the samurai's mastery of the wakazashi and katana have increased to the point that he is treated as having Improved Two-Weapon Fighting even if he doesn't have the prerequisites. He must be wielding both a katana and wakizashi for this ability to function.

Mass Menace (Ex):
At 9th level the samurai has cultivated such prowess and fame that his presence can make even large groups of enemies falter in his presence. As a standard action the samurai can use intimidate to demoralize all opponents within 30ft.

Two-swords Sensei (Ex):
At 11th level the samurai's daisho are a natural extension of his soul. While wielding a katana and wakizashi the samurai is treated as having Greater Two-Weapon Fighting even if he normally does not meet the prerequisites.

Ki Shockwave (Su):
At 14th level, while under the effects of the kiai shout a samurai may swing his blade with such force that he can attack enemies far outside of his reach. The samurai may send a shockwave (a standard action) through the air towards an opponent who must be within 20ft. This attack deals 1d6 damage per half your samurai level. The enemy receives a reflex save for half damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your samurai level + your Charisma modifier. Using this ability ends the effect of a kiai shout after which the samurai is fatigued for a number of rounds equal to his half his class level.

Daisho Kensei (Ex):
At 17th level the samurai has mastered the two-sword school style of martial arts. When using a wakizashi and katana he has no penalties on attack rolls due to wielding two weapons.