Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A preview of "The Elementals"

This material will appear in a slightly different (as in edited) form in NUELOW Games' next release The Elementals for the OGL d20 System. First up, is an optional part of modifications to the character generation system that determines which Great Dragon's magic impacted the character's ancient ancestors.

Art by Storn Cook
   1. You have always felt attracted to the element you draw your power from, but as you entered your teens, you began to develop the powers you now possess.
   2. You almost lost your life in a situation involving the element your powers are drawn from; in the aftermath, you discovered new abilities.
   3-4. Your family has always been key members of a global cult devoted to worshiping the dragon spirits. You were identified as one of the Blessed and prepared for the day when your powers would manifest themselves.
   5. You were doing yoga, meditating, taking mind-altering drugs (or some combination thereof) when your mind was flooded with flashes of a long-gone age when Great Dragons watched over Earth and all life on it. You fell into a coma 16 hours, and when you recovered, your powers had developed.
   6. A strange old man approached you and said that you were the heir to a great and ancient gift... and that you were to take over the role he had filled for the last several decades. After showing you his power, he trained you in the use of yours.

   1. At the funeral of a shared mentor.
   2. They are abducted and imprisoned together for reasons they initially don't understand and must work together to escape and figure out why.
   3. They were raised in the same secret society and brought together when the time was right.
   4. They each felt drawn to the same isolated castle in Ireland.
   5. They are the sole survivors of a natural disaster.
   6. While they are individually being hunted by assassins, they each recieved a message (and the means) to travel to a remote building in the Mojave Desert in order to discover the key to survive and the reason for why they are being hunted.

Here's a feat that may be included... the editor is still mulling over a few last minute brainstorms that I had regarding what could go into The Elementals.

Sense Elemental
You can sense when you are near someone else who carries a spark of a Great Dragon within them.
   Prerequisite: Child of a Great Dragon, Spot 4 ranks.
   Benefit: When your characer is within 60 feet of another Elemental, the GM tells you the character feels as though something is "off" or as if "someone just walked over your grave" or some other statement to show you are sensing something unusual. Upon making a successful Spot skill check (DC12), you can identify the source of your unease--another Elemental. If the Elemental is out of your line of sight, you know exactly where he or she is. You may The sense of unease ends as soon as you recognise the other Immortal.)
   The sense of unease also ends if the Spot check reveals some other threat or mystery that draws your attention.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

What ruins the interplanetary cruise?

Here's a table to spark ideas for a side adventures the next time the player characters are traveling between planets in your sci-fi campaign. Roll 1d12 to determine what disrupts a peaceful trip.

1. Crew is seized by Space Madness
2. Martian Fever spreads among the passengers, killing them and reanimating their bodies.
3. The ship is hijacked by Venusian seperatists
4. The ship is boarded by space pirates
5. An old friend of the party seeks them out for protection
6. An old enemy of the party seeks them out for protection
7. A deadly being made of pure mental energy is moving from body to body, causing murder and mayhemn
8. Assassins are targeting a politician traveling incognito
9. Thugs want to kidnap a couple of eloping rich kids and hold them for ransom
10. Space Witches have chosen the ship and this passage as the time and place for their latest ritual
11. The life support systems mysteriously malfunction
12. A powerful energy beam draws the ship toward Uranus

Art by Joe Doolin

And here's a song that might provide a little inspiration as well!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Super Hero Class (for d20 Modern)

Some five years ago, NUELOW head-honcho Steve Miller had an idea for a system of super powers that could be grated onto any d20 System game that used the feats and talents mechanic to advance character abilities. It began with the post linked here, and Miller and his partner in NUELOWness, L.L. Hundal, has been expanding upon it ever since... through posts here at the blog and with content in many of the comics/rpg hybrid products that they've produced.
   Miller & Hundal have agreed that they think they've just about covered all their favorite comic book heroes and their abilities via the rules they've been creating... and that it may be time to pull all the bits and bobs together into a unified and coherent whole and release an actual product! One of the last pieces may or may not be this new base class while Hundal has been using in her d20 Modern games for the last few go-arounds.
   All text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduce in accordance with its terms. Copyright Steve Miller 2018

By L.L. Hundal & Steve Miller

There are Fast heroes, Smart Heroes, Strong heroes... all the kinds of heroes you find described in the d20 Modern Standard Reference Document. But the Super hero stands above them all. Whether driven by supernatural forces, family heritage, or some life-altering trauma, the super hero has powers and abilities beyond those of mere mortals that he or she puts to use to defend the innocent from criminals and other evil people and entities that would prey upon them. It is a versatile class with access to the wide range of talents, as well as minor power feats.

Ability: Player's Choice; Super heroes come in all shapes, sizes and intelligence quotients.
Hit Die: 1d8
Action Points: Super heroes gain a number of action points equal to 5 + one-half their character level, rounded down, at 1st level and every time they attain a new level in this class.
Class Skills: The Super hero's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Balance (Dex), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (mechanical) (Int), Drive (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Hide (Dex), Jump (Strength), Knowledge (current events, science [pick individual branches separately], streetwise) (Int), Move Silently (Dex), Pilot (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Speak Language (none), and Tumble (Dex).
Also, the starting occupation the character selects can provide additional class skills to choose from.
Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) x4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 5 + Int modifier.

Table: The Super Hero
Class Level
Base Attack Bonus
Fort Save
Ref Save
Will Save
Class Features
Defense Bonus
Reputation Bonus
Bonus feat
Bonus feat
Bonus feat
Bonus feat
Bonus feat

Starting Feats
In addition to the two feats all characters get at 1st level, a Super hero begins play with the Combat Martial Arts feat, or a Weapons Proficiency feat of the player's choice. The character must meet any prerequisites before selecting a feat.

Class Features
All of the following are class features of the Super hero.

At 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th level, the Super hero may select a talent from any the following talent trees. Some trees have a set order that must be followed, while others provide a list to choose from.
   Any and all Super Power talent trees for which the Super hero meets the prerequisites.
    No talent can be selected more than once unless expressly indicated in its description.

At 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th level, the Super hero may select a bonus feat from the following list.
   Any [Minor Power] feat, plus Alertness, Athletic, Blind-fight, Builder, Combat Expertise, Educated, Gearhead, Improved Disarm, Frightful Presence, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Meticulous, Studious, Trustworthy, Weapon Focus.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Masks of the Ninja Cuties

This post is a supplement to NUELOW Games' Ninja Cuties. You can also find drafts of the material from that booklet on this blog, but if you like this post, we hope you'll consider getting our product.

The first Grandmaster of the Ninja Cutie clan has six children--three sons and three daughters. Being unable to choose which of his adult children would be the best to take over leadership of the clan, he said that he would give the position to the child who defeated a Grandmaster of a rival clan and presented him with the mask that embodied that clan's spirit. Two weeks later, five of his children returned together, each presenting him with a clan's mask... all except the youngest daughter. The children explained that she devised the strategey that saw the siblings working together to defeat all the other clan leaders and take the artifacts from them. He was so pleased that instead of giving control of the clan to just one of them, he divided its resources equally among them. He gave his youngest child the Face of the Cutie, the mask that symbolized the Shouchiibi (Ninja Cutie) clan, and the rest retained the masks they'd seized as the symbol of the part of the clan--the "House"-- of which they were now in charge.
   As the Ninja Cutie Clan spread across the globe, the division of the clan that had happened in its early days served it well. Each part of the clain essentially ended up with its own "territory" and the masks were housed within the secret headquarters of the House in question. Here are the six Masks of the Ninja Cuties, as defined with the d20 System. (The rest of the text in this post is released under the Open Game License and it may reproduced in accordance with its terms.)

Art by Adam Warren

The Face of the Dragon (Located in Manchester, Great Britain)

This mask grants the wearer a +2 bonus to all Wisdom-based skill checks. Once per day, the mask will protect the wearer against a mind-affecting attack or spell (automatic failure; the GM doesn't even need to inform the player it happened unless its obvious). Once per day, the wearer can conciously invoke the mask's power to gain a +4 bonus to all Will saves for two hours.

The Face of the Fox (Located in New York City, USA)
The mask grants the wearer a +2 bonus to all Intelligence-based skill cheks. Once per day, the mask can be activated by touching its left ear to allow the wearer to automatically see through  technologically- or magically-created illusions for 30 minutes.

The Face of the Cutie (Located in Tokyo, Japan)
This mask grants the wearer a +2 bonus to all Charisma-based skill checks. Once per day, the mask allows the wearer to cast charm monster at 12th-level effectiveness.

The Visage of the Bull (Located in Rio De Janerio, Brazil)
The mask grants the wearer a +2 bonus to all Strength-based skill checks. Three times per day, the wearer may ignore the hardness of an object while striking to break it.

The Visage of the Cat (Located in Hong Kong, China)
The mask grants the wearer a +2 bonus to all Dexterity-based skill checks. For one combat per day, the wearer cannot be flanked and gains a +1 bonus to AC or DC (depending on the d20 System variant) against all attacks.

The Visage of the Bear (Located in Christchurch, New Zealand)
The mask grants the wearer +4 to all Constitution-based skill checks, as well as a +1 bonus to all Fortitude saves.

Ninja Cuties

Thursday, July 26, 2018

d20 Supers: The Combination Hero

There are a number of superheroes who are actually one or more individual beings who merge, either temporarily or permanently, into the hero. The most famous of these may be DC Comics' Firestorm, but Yankee Doodle Jones (who will be seen in a forthcoming anthology from NUELOW Games) also falls into this category.
   This post presents rules for the d20 System game that will let you create your own superhero who is greater than the sum total of his or her parts. It's an involved process that involves generating multiple characters that eventually become one, but we think the end result will be worth it for the story and roleplaying potential it offers.
   Part of this article is a random origin generation (the tables titled How Did the Combination Hero Come to Be? and How is the Combination Undone?), but we encourage you--in cooperation with your GM--to come up with a carefully considered backstory instead. You might even want to create a history for each of the characters who become the Combination Hero, so that if and when they become separated, you know how to play one or more of them.

By Steve Miller
Step One
Roll 1d3+1. The result is the number of characters that makes up the Combination Hero.

Step Two
By Everett Raymond Kinstler
Generate each character, using the standard character generation rules for the campaign/game you are playing in. (If alternate rules are in play that allow for more generous attributes [such as rolling 4d6 and dropping the lowest] they should not be used.)
Assign the results to attributes in the order they were rolled.
   Randomly generate the level of each character by rolling 1d4. Assign character classes skills, feats, talents, and everything else that a character would have for each one, bringing the character up to its highest level. (You can shortcut this stage by only defining the individual characters' skills, although having each of the character that makes up the whole to come might be important in certain situations.)

Step Three
Transfer the highest stats of the previously generated characters to a new character sheet. These are the starting attributes for the Combination Hero.
Add the total levels of the previously generated characters together; this is the starting number of levels for the Combination Hero.
   Note any skills possessed by the original characters that had 5 or more ranks on the Combination Hero's sheet. These are Permanent Class Skills for the Combination Hero.
   Select a bonus feat for each character that makes up the Combination Hero. This is where you can begin to give the character superpowers, for example, if you're using NUELOW's feats- and talents-based power system. (The Combination Hero must meet all prerequisites in order to have the bonus feat.)
Assign character classes, skills, feats, talents, and everything else that a character would have for each one, bringing the character up to its highest level.

Use this table to randomly determine how the combination hero came into existence. Some of the results require an additional roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table, below, since many Combination heroes can separate back into those who make them. Most of these sub-results also describe how the characters can then recombine.
   Naturally, you can also just read these tables and pick a result that you want to be you the point of origin and/or method to uncombine/recombine for your character.
   1. The characters were struck by a mysterious ray from space. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table)
   2. The characters performed a mystic ritual that worked as intended. The combination is undone when the combination hero utters a magic phrase.
   3. The characters performed a mystic ritual that went awry. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table.)
   4. The characters were subjected to a mystic ritual by evil cultists. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table.)
   5. The characters were joined into a single being by an Atlantean artifact. The artifact must be used against to undo the combination.
   6. The characters were killed, but a powerful entity gave them a change for a new life as a single being. Only the entity who created them can undo the union (which may or may not kill the individual characters).
   7. The characters volunteered to become a single being through super-scientific means. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table.)
   8. The characters were abducted by a mad scientist and forced to become one being to prove his theories. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table)
   9. The characters offended a Tibetan hermit who cursed them into existing as one being until they make amends. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table)
  10. The Combination Hero woke up in the middle of smoldering wreckage or ruins with no notion of how he or she came to exist. (Roll on the How is the Combination Undone? table)

   1-2. It is permanent unless undone through the will of a powerful god.
   3-4. The hero must speak a magic word that is only known to a mystic order that dwells in a remote, hard to access place. Any of the characters who made up the hero will be able to speak the work and re-combine them all.
   5-6. The hero must be exposed to rays from a specific alien device.
   7. The hero must touch a particular object. When the characters who were combined all touch the object again at the same time, they will re-combine into the hero.
   8. When the hero is subjected to a rare type of radiation or a specific type of magical energy.
   9. The hero must die.
  10. The hero must bathe in the Pool of All. This causes the characters to separate, although they do not become immortal unless they enter the Pool individually. (See Secrets of the Immortals for more.)

All text in this post is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright Steve Miler 2018.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Additional Ninja Cutie Secrets Revealed!

Here's some additional information about, and feats and a starting profession for, the Ninja Cuties!

Ninja Cuties trace their origins back to mid-15th Century Japan when the Shouchiibi Ninja Clan decided they would develop their skills around "working smarter not harder, and generally take advantage of being smoking hot!" The effort was hugely successful, and male and female clanmembers vamped and vogued their way through the next few centuries before doing either was even a Thing. With the advent of photography, and eventually motion pictures, they spread across the world, hiding their true natures as spies and assassins and all-around rogues-for-hire behind the facade of being actors and models.
   Whereever they went, they recruited local beautiful people into their ranks, and by the 1940s, they were the first truly global Ninja Clan. A number of the most glamorous internationally known models and movie stars have been Ninja Cuties--something which remains true to this day.
   During the 1930s, this led to the Great Sundering, as those Ninja Cuties based outside of Japan were increasingly at odds with those in the land of their origins, finding themselves fighting against the Japanese Empire rather than for it. (The Ninja Cuties in the U.S. were in a particularly strange position, as White and Black Ninja Cuties were fighting both Japanese agents and the American government as they established secret havens for those among them who were of Japanese descent.
   During the Cold War, the various factions of Ninja Cuties came back together, united by common heritage and good looks. Through the decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, their global secret network has only grown stronger. In the modern world, a Ninja Cutie will always help a member of the clan, even if their nations are at odds. Even Ninja Cuties who have strayed from the path set down by their forebears can expect help and support from the clan. call on that person will receive help and support from the clan.
   In present day, Ninja Cuties can be found throughout the entertainment and modeling businesses. Some have even entered the political realm, as good looks and sharp wit has become more important than actual intelligence and leadership skills. In order to preserve the secrecy surrounding the Shouchiibi Clan, some Ninja Cuties use their martial arts prowess as part of their performances, and  have even arranged to have fictionalized and comedic versions of their secret society presented on film, such as the one featured in Zoolander 2. As a result, even if sopmeone were to attempt to expose the existince of the Ninja Cuties, they would be laughed at and silly crazy conspiracy theorists.

Art by Claudio Pozas. Used with Permission.

The rest of this post is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced within its terms. Copyright Steve Miller 2018. You can read the original Ninja Cutie post here (or just scrolling down if you're on the main blog page).

Most Ninja Cuties are raised from a young age to be cute but deadly. This starting profession reflects that, and unless the character was inculcated into the Secret Circle of Cutie Ninjas later in life, this Starting Profession should be chosen.

You were born and raised within the secret community of the Ninja Cuties. Whether you stayed true to your childhood training and heritage as your family wished, or ultimately chose to persue a different path.
   Prerequisite: Charisma 13
   Skills: Choose three of the following skills as a permanent class skill. If a skill the character selects is already a class skill, he or she receives a +1 competence bonus on checks using that skill. Acrobatics, Bluff, Concentrate, Knowledge (Arcane Lore), Knowledge (Mysticism), Move Silently, Tumble, Perform (specific field), Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot.
   Feats: Select one of the following to receive as a bonus feat. The character must meet any prerequisites. Combat Reflexes, Dancing Queen, Informant Network, Ninja Cutie, Shameless.

Here are some feats suitable for Ninja Cuties.

DANCING QUEEN [Fast Hero, Bard, Fighter, Rogue]
You can dance, you can fight!
   Benefit: The character practices mixed martial arts. Add 1/2 of the character's ranks (round down) in the Perform [dance] skill to all melee attack rolls.

The character has an uncanny ability for sensing trouble just before it strikes.
   Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to all Spot and Sense Motive skill checks.

The character can use even the slightest shadow to "hide in plain sight."
   Prerequisite: Hide 6 ranks, Move Silently 6 ranks
   Benefit: When in an area that features at least some shadow, the character gains a +8 bonus to Hide skill checks.

SPECIALITY MARTIAL ARTIST [Fighter, Fast Hero, Strong Hero]
The character has mastered an unusual fighting style that turns normally harmless pursuits deadly.
   Prerequisite: Combat Martial Arts or Defensive Martial Arts
   Benefit: When this feat is selected, specify a Craft, Knowledge, or Perform skill. The character is a master of a fighting style that weaponizes that activity. You add ½ your number of ranks in the designated skill (round up) to your to-hit and damage rolls when making unarmed attacks. The character may use objects associated with the activity as improvised melee or ranged weapons without suffering a non-proficiency penalty. In general, the objects deal a base of 1d4 points of damage with a base crit range of 19-20.
   Special: You may select this feat multiple times. Each time, a different Craft, Knowledge, or Perform skill must be specified. You must declare which version of the feat (if any) the character is using at the beginning of each round if making a martial arts attack.

A Ninja Cutie Battle Anthem!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Power of the Ninja Cutie!

Every couple decades, it seems Ninjas enjoy a brief moment as "the new hotness" in pop culture. We think Ninjas are about to strike again... so we bring you this fabulous d20 System add-on! (All text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright Steve Miller 2018.)

A Ninja Cutie isn't made. Well, they're partly made, but they're also born. They are selected for the secret training from among the cutest, most outgoing children, and then trained in secret arts that only the prettiest and most handsome Ninjas will ever learn.
   A few rare individuals are brought into the Secret Circle of the Ninja Cuties after having impressed a Master Ninja Cutie... but these are few and far between indeed.
   Most Ninjas Cuties belong to the Bard or Rogue class (in D&D/Pathfinder); or the Charismatic Hero or Fast Hero class (in d20 Modern). but they can belong to any class. As part of the secret training, Ninja Cuties learn a special kind of magic. These spells are gained through the selection of feats and talents. If the character gains spells through class abilities, the Ninja Cutey spells are added to the number of spells that can be cast each day as indicated in the feat or talent descriptions.

These feats define the Ninja Cuties.

MASTER OF OBSCENITY [Bard. Rogue, Charismatic Hero]
Washing your mouth out with soap wouldn't even begin to make a difference.
   Prerequisite: Bluff 4 ranks, Cha 15
   Benefit: As a standard action, you can let lose with such an impressive string of obscenities (spoken and/or gestures) that you can bring all actions around you to a halt. The attention of everyone within earshot is momentarily focused on you.To use this feat, other characters must be able to hear you.
   All initiatives must be re-rolled. You gain a +2 bonus to re-rolling your initiative, as well as to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate skill checks for the rest of the encounter.
   Special: Other characters with the Master of Obscenity feat do not have to re-roll initiative, but are immune to its effects. They may choose to continue to attack targets, including the character who used the feat, on their initiative, or they may choose to engage him or her in an Obscenity Square-Off.
   In an Obscenity Square-Off, the character with the highest Charisma goes first (if tied, the one with the highest Intimidate skill rank goes first). Each player rolls a Bluff skill check, as they curse and swear and generally behave in as offensive a fashion as possible. The best two out of three Bluff checks wins, and the winner's allies share in the +2 bonus to the re-rolled initiatives.

NINJA CUTIE [Fast Hero, Rogue]
You're cute... and deadly!
Prerequisite: Combat Reflexes feat, Cha 13
   Benefit: Add your Charisma bonus to attack and damage rolls. (This bonus stacks with all other bonuses.)
   Special: Add twice your Charisma bonus to sneak attack rolls.

NINJA CUTIE MAGIC [Rogue, Fast Hero, Charismatic Hero, Minor Power]
You have learned the basic secrets of Ninja Cutie Magic
   Prerequisite: Cha 13
   Benefit: Each day you may, at will, cast a number of 0-level Ninja Cutie spells equal to your Charisma bonus. You also add your Cha bonus to Will saves when resisting spells and spell-like effects. Your character level is your caster level.
   Any material components listed in the spell description are unnecessary when the Ninja Cutie versions are cast.

These talents give Ninja Cuties access additional magic power.

The talents from this tree model track the growing magical ability of powerful Ninja Cuties.
   Killer Cuteness: The DC for saving throws against. your Ninja Cutie spells is increased by your Charisma bonus.
   Prerequisite: Ninja Cutie Magic feat.
   Intermediate Cutie Caster: Each day, you may, at will, cast a number of 1st- and 2nd-level Ninja Cutie spells equal to your Charisma bonus. Your character level is your chaster level.
   Prerequisite: Ninja Cutie Magic feat
   Advanced Cutie Caster: Each day, you may, at will, cast a number of 3rd- and 4th-level Ninja Cutie spells equal to your Charisma bonus. Your character level is your chaster level. Any material components listed in the spell description are unnecessary when the Ninja Cutie versions are cast.
   Prerequisite: Intermediate Cutie Caster
   Superior Cutie Caster: Each day, you may, at will, cast a number of 5th- and 6th-level Ninja Cutie spells equal to your Charisma bonus. Your character level is your caster level. Any material components listed in the spell description are unnecessary when the Ninja Cutie versions are cast.
   Prerequisite: Advanced Cutie Caster

The Ninja Cutie Magic feat and talents allow for the casting of the following spells.

0-level SpellsDaze, Ghost Sound, MessagePrestidigitation
1st-level Spells: Expeditious Retreat, Hypnotism, Obscuring Mist, Touch of Idiocy
2nd-level Spells: Darkvision, Gust of Wind, Pyrotechnics, Spider Climb
3rd-level Spells: Blink, Fly, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Sleet Storm
4th-level Spells: Arcane Eye, Charm Monster, Dimension Door, Fear
5th-level Spells: Dominate Person, Mind Fog, Sending, Telepathic Bond
6th-level Spells: Mislead, Probe Thoughts, Repulsion, Shadow Walk

Art by Rumiko Takahashi