Tuesday, October 31, 2017

November Campaign Design


I'm declaring November to be NaCaCrMo.

Sodium-Calcium-Chromium-Molybdenum for the win!

Oh, wait. No. With all the national month of this or that or the other thing in November, I thought I might turn my own attentions to creating a campaign setting in a month, both to see if I can do it, and to share my own process for doing so with you all. I'm calling it NAtional CAmpaign CReation MOnth. Because those sorts of semi-acronyms are all the rage nowadays, apparently. Maybe it's not "national", but I'll give it a try anyway.

Starting on November 1st, I'll go from a bare concept to (hopefully) a finished, ready-to-play campaign setting that could last many years of play.

My only self-imposed limitations:
  • It'll be written for some form of D&D or OSR game (or more than one)
  • It'll have at least one complete map and accompanying descriptive text
  • It'll be in final, playable (not necessarily publishable - formatting and layout is not required) form by November 30
  • It'll have at least one unique twist to set it apart from most other campaign settings
So there we go. Hope this works out as well as my NaGaDeMon experience a few years ago!

_______

Illustration from Ed Greenwood's excellent "Plan Before You Play" article in Dragon Magazine 63.

1st Edition Paladin Spells (Part 2)

Following up on the previous post, here are the remaining paladin-specific spells, converted from 5E
to 1E format. The 5E paladin spell list goes up to 5th level, but in 1E paladins can only cast up to 4th level spells, thus this list is a little smaller than the total list of paladin spells in 5th edition.

Third Level

Aura of Vitality

Level: 3
Components: V
Range: Self (3" radius)
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell fills you with healing energy. One time during the duration of the spell, you can cure wounds on any individual within 30 feet of your position, causing them to regain 2d6 hit points. If cast on an unwilling subject, they are entitled to a saving throw to avoid the spell's effect.

Blinding Smite

Level: 3
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will ring with a thunderous clap, inflicting an additional 3d8 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be blinded for the duration of the spell, with a -4 penalty "to hit". If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect. Only one target will be affected by the weapon.

Crusader's Mantle

Level: 3
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 30' radius
Saving Throw: None

This spell creates an aura around you that inspires all friendly creatures within 30' of you to greater feats of martial skill. For the duration of the spell, all friendly creatures inflict an additional 1d4 h.p. of damage when they hit. The radius of effect moves with you.

Elemental Weapon

Level: 3
Components: V, S
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell allows you to temporarily imbue a single weapon with a +1 bonus for both "to hit" and an additional 1d4 h.p. to damage inflicted. If you are 13th level, the weapon will have a +2 bonus to hit, and if you are 15th level or higher, the weapon will have a +3 bonus to hit.

Fourth Level

Aura of Life

Level: 4
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 3 segments
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: 30' radius
Saving Throw: None

This spell infuses you with positive energy, which radiates out from you in a 30' radius and moves with you. All friendly creatures in the area of effect get a +4 bonus to all saving throws when attacked by undead creatures or creatures native to the negative material plane. If any friendly creature within the area of effect starts a round with 0 or fewer hit points and is still alive, that creature will be increased by 1 additional hit point.

Aura of Purity

Level: 4
Components: V, S
Range: Self
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 1 hour
Area of Effect: 30' radius
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell surrounds you with an aura that protects against disease and other conditions. For the duration of the spell, all non-hostile creatures within 30' of you will be immune to all diseases, including mummy rot, but already-existing diseases are unaffected. In addition, they will have a +4 bonus to all saving throws vs. poison, petrification, fear, blindness, deafness, and paralysis. Finally, they will also take half damage from any non-fatal poison. The aura moves as you do.

Staggering Smite

Level: 4
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 4 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will cut through into their mind itself, inflicting an additional 4d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be stunned and suffer a -4 penalty to all "to hit" rolls, saving throws for the next 1d4 rounds. If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect. Only one target will be affected by the weapon.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

1st Edition Paladin Spells (Part 1)

One of the things I like about 5th Edition is the notion of special spell lists for paladins and rangers. (I have no idea if this was also a thing in 3rd or 4th edition, since I never got into either.) I think this is precisely the sort of thing that could translate into 1st edition very well.

So, that being said, here's my take on translating some of the 5th edition spells into 1st edition format.

These would be in addition to the normal clerical spells to which paladins have access.

First Level

Compelled Duel (enchantment/charm)

Level: 1
Components: V
Range: 3"
Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: One creature
Saving Throw: Neg.

This spell will compel a single creature to fight the caster. On a failed saving throw, the target creature must remain within 30 feet of you and has a -4 penalty "to hit" when attempting to strike any creature except you. Once affected by the spell, the creature can attempt to make another saving throw which would allow it to move more than 30' from you for that round only. The penalty to hit remains in effect. The target creature is aware of the compulsion to attack you.

The spell ends when you attack any creature other than the target (either with a weapon, magic item, or spell), when a creature friendly to you damages the target (again either by weapon, magic item, or spell), or you move so that you end the round more than 30' from the target.

Divine Favor (evocation)

Level: 1
Components: V, S
Range: Self
Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: One weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell will imbue any single weapon held in your hand with divine energy in the round following the casting of the spell. A weapon so empowered will do an additional 1d4 h.p. of damage when it hits. The effect remains until the spell duration expires.

Searing Smite (evocation)

Level: 1
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 1 action
Duration: See below
Area of Effect: One weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell will turn any weapon you hold white-hot when it strikes (you are not harmed by this) in the following round. This will inflict an additional 1d6 h.p. of fire damage, and the target will become engulfed in white flames. These flames will inflict an additional 1d6 h.p. of fire damage per round until they are extinguished, or 1 turn has passed, whichever comes first. The flames can be extinguished by the target making a successful saving throw vs. spells, by some other creature using the round to extinguish the flames (smothering them with a cloak, etc.), or if the target is in an environment where fire is impossible (underwater, in a vacuum, etc.).

Shield of Faith (abjuration)

Level: 1
Components: V, S, M
Range: 6"
Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: None

This spell causes an invisible shield to protect one creature of your choice. For the duration of the spell, the selected creature will have a +2 bonus to its armor class. The spell requires a bit of parchment with a prayer or holy text written upon it, which can be re-used.

Thunderous Smite (evocation)

Level: 1
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell will create a special field in any single weapon you hold. The next time the weapon hits an enemy before the end of the spell, it will ring with a thunderous clap, inflicting an additional 2d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, unless it is able to make a saving throw vs. spells, it will be pushed back 10 feet and knocked prone, requiring a round to get up. The sound of thunder can be heard up to 300 feet away. If the weapon does not hit, the spell effect wears off at the end of the spell's effect.

Wrathful Smite (evocation)

Level: 1
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell imbues a single weapon you hold with a powerful magical aura. The first time the weapon hits an enemy during the duration of the spell, it will inflict an additional 1d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, the creature struck must make a saving throw vs. spells. Failure means they are struck as if they had a fear spell cast upon them for 1d6 rounds.

Second Level

Branding Smite (evocation)

Level: 2
Components: V
Range: Self
Casting Time: 2 segments
Duration: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 weapon
Saving Throw: None

This spell imbues a single weapon you hold with a powerful magical aura. The first time the weapon hits during the duration of the spell, it will inflict an additional 2d6 h.p. of damage. In addition, the target will glow as if a faerie fire spell had been cast on it for one round after the hit. If you do not hit a target before it expires, the spell is lost.

Zone of Truth (enchantment/charm)

Level: 2
Components: V, S
Range: 6"
Casting Time: 2 segments
Duration: 10 minutes
Area of Effect: 15' radius
Saving Throw: neg.

This spell creates a zone within which no untruth can be spoken. If any creature enters the spell's radius, or is within that radius when the spell is cast, it must make a saving throw vs. spells. Failure indicates it cannot tell any falsehood. You will know whether any given creature is under the effect of the spell when you hear them speak, but creatures affected by the spell will also be aware of their condition, and could very well choose silence or evasiveness.

_____

Edit: Thanks to James Mishler for input on the spell effects, which have been updated to reflect his feedback.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Interview at Multiverse

Timothy Connolly of TSR, Inc. interviewed me for their Multiverse blog, and the interview went live today:

http://multiverse.world/blog/2017/10/19/qa-joseph-bloch-greyhawk-grognard/

This was a lot of fun to do, and I hope folks check it out!


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Darker Paths Halloween Sale

Hello, kiddies! 
It's that wonderful time of year again, boys and ghouls... The annual Halloween sale, when the Darker Paths series of supplements are on sale for a ridiculously low price. And of course they're all usable with almost all old-school, 0E/1E/2E type games. This is honestly some of my favorite work.

How low, and what do you get?

Darker Paths 1: The Necromancer
The necromancer is a master of death and the undead; his spells are centered on dealing with crypts and tombs, creating and treating with the undead, as well as emulating some of the powers of the undead at higher level. 20 pages, on sale for $3.42.

Darker Paths 2: The Witch
This witch is not a sexy nature-worshiper. Nor is she a misunderstood and unjustly persecuted healer and herbalist. This is the witch of the Brothers Grimm, the Malleus Maleficarum, and Medieval folklore. It features approximately fifty new spells such as Hand of Glory, Blight Field, Candle Magic, and Masse Noire, plus full descriptions of spells that are shared with other classes, so players will have everything they need at their fingertips. Cover art and an interior character illustration is by veteran OSR artist Jason Sholtis. 20 pages, on sale for $3.42.


Darker Paths 3: The Demonolator
Demonolaters are priests who serve demon lords and ladies. The character class is a sub-class of cleric, but each demon lord has priests with special powers and spells, nearly 40 of which are included (with names like dark offering, invite possession, and warp reality). 
This supplement also includes rules for demonic pacts and statistics for the demon lord Dagon and his minions, the dreaded carcharo demons. 15 pages, $2.93.

And best of all, there's a bundle of all three available for just $9.95! Dude, I wrote this, and I'd pay that much for it, easy.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ogre coming to Steam

I normally hate video games, but this looks amazing. I've been a huge fan of the game since the 70's, including the miniatures version, and this looks like a very worthy addition to the family. Now I'll have to figure out how to get a Steam account, just for this.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Greyhawk Gods in 5E

As I've been posting my progress on my Greyhawk 576 material for 5th Edition, someone asked if they could see a list of all the deities I'm planning on including. So here it is, subject to change, of course. Names marked with an asterisk are already done, with full write-ups including a unique divine domain for clerics who choose to take it, rather than one of the standard divine domains. (Where applicable - a couple of gods don't have clerics, only druids, but since Oerth has two moons, there's a Circle of Luna and a Circle of Celene.)

Allitur*
Atroa*
Beltar*
Beory*
Berei*
Bleredd*
Boccob*
Bralm*
Celestian*
Saint Cuthbert*
Cyndor*
Dalt*
Delleb*
Ehlonna*
The Elder Elemental God*
Erythnul*
Fharlanghn*
Fortubo*
Geshtai*
Heironeous*
Hextor*
Incabulous*
Istus*
Iuz*
Jascar*
Joramy*
Kord*
Kurell*
Lendor*
Lirr*
Llerg*
Lolth*
Lydia*
Merikka
Myhriss*
Nerull*
Obad-Hai*
Olidammara*
Pelor*
Phaulkon*
Pholtus*
Phyton*
Procan*
Pyremius*
Ralishaz*
Rao*
Rudd*
Sotillion*
Stern Alia
Stratis
Syrul*
Telchur*
Tharizdun*
Trithereon*
Ulaa*
Vatun*
Velnius
Wastri*
Wee Jas*
Wenta*
Xan Yae*
Xerbo*
Zagyg*
Zilchus*
Zodal
Zuoken

A few notes on the selections; I've deliberately left out Baklunish gods not listed in the Guide to the World of Greyhawk/From the Ashes, as well as the Touv gods, Olman gods, etc. I am using non-Living Greyhawk material wherever possible, and am trying to make a synthesis of all the 1E, 2E, 3E, 4E, and 5E material I can. A few entries might surprise you, but I thought they were interesting, such as Stratis from the Sundered Empire setting of the early 2000's Chainmail game (brother of Hextor and Heironeous, who is still alive as of 576), and Vatun, the Suel god of winter who is imprisoned by the Oeridian god of winter, Telchur!

It's also worth noting that a few didn't make the list. Mayaheine and Vecna, for instance, didn't achieve demigod status in Oerth until around 585.

As a reminder, this is just a thought-exercise on my part, until and unless Wizards of the Coast allows third-parties to publish Greyhawk material on DM's Guild.

UPDATE: I'll be keeping this list up to date as I finish off gods, just in case anyone is interested in seeing progress made.