Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The feat to prevent TPK!

Here's another Metagame feat for your enjoyment. It's inspired by a plot device that appears in many horror films and a handful of sci-fi ones, too, and the Alan Hewetson/Pablo Marcos short story "An Event in the Night" that will appear in a forthcoming NUELOW Games release, which is tentatively titled Events in the Night: Horror Stories Illustrated by Pablo Marcos.

WAS IT ALL JUST A NIGHTMARE? [Minor Power, Metagame]
Was that horrible dream of death and carnage just that--a dream--or was it a preminition?
   Prerequisite: Foresight
   Benefit: You may invoke this feat once per game session after your character dies or is horribly maimed, or after the party suffers a total defeat. Your character wakes up, covered in cold sweat with heart pounding in the chest. The entire day that led up to the disastrous defeat was just a dream. Any items gained, XP earned, and character injuries that occurred during it are completely undone. It's as if the events never happened, because they didn't.
The events are now played again, and the players may used player knowledge (assuming your character shares the details of the dream with his or her comrades). The GM may make alterations to the scenario (and should, to keep ir fresh), but the broad strokes remain the same. But your character and the rest of the party will have a chance to at least attempt to correct their mistakes and avoid death.
    Special: After this feat has been evoked and the disastrous encounter has been successfully survived, roll a d20. If the result is 4 or 13, you suffer a -2 penalty to all saving throws for the entirety of the next game session... as Fate and Death stalk your character, angry that he or she eluded their grasp. (If you use "Was It All A Nightmare" again during that session, the saving throw penalty increases to -4 during the next game session and so on.

Friday, January 27, 2017

d20 Modern Metagaming Feats for Our Times

Gamers are always going on about whether this or that RPG is realistic. Well, we aim to please here at NUELOW Games, so here are two feats that will make your d20 Modern games super ultra modern by bringing the feel of the world around us to your gaming table!

All text in this post is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2017 Steve Miller

Alternative Fact [General, Metagaming]
You roll whatever you say you roll.
   Benefit: Whenever you roll a failed saving throw, skill check, or attack you, you can invoke this feat and instead declare that you rolled a 20 (or any other possible result that you choose).
   Special: Your character permanently loses 1 rank in the Diplomacy or Intimidate skill (your choice, or random roll by the DM/GM) whenever this feat is invoked. If the character has no ranks in either skill, it loses 250XP. (Using this feat CAN cause a character to lose a level if enough XP are spent.)

Protest [General, Metagaming]

Your dissatisfaction and hate may change the course of destiny!
   Benefit: Whenever you roll a failed saving throw, skill check, or attack roll, you may invoke your right to protest. At this time, all normal actions and play stop. You roll a Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate skill check (whichever is highest for the character) with a DC18. If this skill check is successful, play resumes at the point you failed the previous roll and you reroll as if the initial roll never happened,
   Special: Each time you invoke this feat, all other players receive a -1 penalty to skill checks, saving throws, and attack rolls for the rest of the game session, just to make sure they understand how important it is that you get to win.

Venting Your Righteous Anger [General, Metagaming]
(from an idea by Scott Kankelborg)
You're peaceful, and no one better dare say otherwise!
    Prerequisite: Protest
    Benefit: As Protest, but after the initial failed d20 roll, you may also break 1d4 common household items present in the home of whoever is hosting the game session. You or the GM may roll to determine how many.
    Special: If you ever attempt to compensate the other players for their loss you lose access to the Protest feat.

These feats should be added to the list of bonus feats available to the Hardcore Activist advanced class.
More topical and modern than ever!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Retro Sci-Fi with NUELOW Games!

While we haven't done much in the sci-fi genre, we think that what we have done is very high quality, and all great sources of inspiration for sci-fi roleplaying game campaigns. The most concentrated sources of inspiration are the collections of royalty-free art that is yours to use in almost any fashion you can think of once you've purchased one or more of them. We've just released the fourth one--NUELOW Stock Art Collection #15: Fantastic Frontiers--and to celebrate, we're giving you an even more concentrated source of inspiration: A series of tables that will let you generate the framework for an alien invasion campaign--Who Are The Aliens?, What Do the Aliens Want?, How Are They Going to Get It?, and How Does Humanity Ultimately Defeat Them! (We've used the covers from our art collections to illustrate this post because, well, we hope you'll go buy one or more of them at RPGNow, DriveThruRPG, DriveThruComics, or DriveThruFiction.)

Art by John Celardo

Who Are the Aliens?
Roll 1d12 to determine who the aliens are!
1. Red Martians (Sexy and Savage)
2. Green Martians (Six-Armed and Savage)
3. Venusian Amazons (Sexy and Commanding)
4. Tentacle Monsters from Alpha-Ceti Six (Sexy. Ew.)
5. Bug-Eyed Swamp Men (Slimy and Smelly)
6. Nordics (Tall, Buff and Blond Boozers)
7. The Greys (Short, Skinny, and Fond of Giving Anal Probes)
8. Lizard People (Shapeshifters)
10. Atlanteans (Mystical Super-scientists)
11. The Immortals (Masters of Time and Space)
12. Caedens (Cat People)

Art by Will Eisner

What Do the Aliens Want?
Roll 1d12 to determine what the aliens want!
1. Peaceful coexistence, with human society and theirs exchanging knowledge and comingling freely.
2. Peaceful coexistence, so long as humanity recognizes their status as superior beings.
3. Peaceful coexistence, so long as humanity doesn't encrouch upon their well-defined dominion of worlds that have long been recognized by other intelligent species.
4. Help from humans in defeating a vicious enemy... that wil be coming for us next if the aliens are defeated.
5. Help in defeating a rampaging, intergalactic robot army. (Roll 1d12 again. 1-6: The robots contact humanity and offer alliance and peaceful coexistence if we help defeat the aliens; 7-12: The robots contact humanity and vow to wipe us out along with all other non-mechanical life in the universe. ("EXTERMINATE!"))
6. The return of an artifact that will save their people and which is lost somewhere on Earth. If we fail to help locate and turn it over, they will invade with the intent of destroying us as their last act as a dying species.
7. Our bodies, to house the minds of their young.
8. Our mineral wealth, especially gold and diamonds.
9. All water, be it in the sea, in the air, or in human bodies.
10. All children under the age of 3, so they can be nutured and modified into superior beings--and any infants born in the future.
11. To save the whales.
12. Our Women!

Art by Dan Zolnerowich

How Are They Going to Get It?
Roll 1d12 to determine how they're going accomplish their goals.
1. Take control of humanity by infiltrating our political leadership.
2. Take control of humanity by infiltrating our academics.
3. Take control of humanity by infiltrating our arts communities.
4. Replace important humans with robot doubles.
5. Orbital Mind Control lasers
6. Orbital Weather Control Satellites
7. Destroy Earth by launching meteors at us.
8. Invade Earth with a massive alien army.
10. Taint food sources so they only poison humans and other mammals.
11. Turn all plant life against
12. Roll two more times on the table. The aliens are conducting a two-pronged attack!

Art by Joe Doolin

How Does Humanity Ultimately Defeat Them?
Roll 1d12 to determine how humanity will ultimately defeat them.
1. Through the power of love.
2. Through our never-say-die spirit.
3. By finding a way to their home world and bringing the war to them.
4. By discovering the aliens secret and deadly allergy to (roll 1d12: 1. KFC's Secret 11 Herbs & Spices, 2. Dos Equis Beer, 3. Keystone Beer, 4. Gluten, 5. Justin Beiber Music, 6. Slim Whitman Music, 7. Barbara Streisand Music, 8. Roseanne Barr, 9. Axe Body Spray, 10. Hipsters, 11. The Common Cold Virus, 12. An ancient weapon, uncovered at the last minute).
5. Chuck Norris
6. Alien rebels become our allies.
7. Professor Fiend develops a super weapon (that has a serious downside, but still....)
8. Santa Claus Comes to the Rescue (he don't take crap from no aliens!)
10. Stardust the Super Wizard comes to our rescue
11. Bill Clinton seduces their leader.
12. Flash--he's for every one of us, he'll save every one of us!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Coming Soon: Mystic Legacies of Atlantis

While running with scissors over the holidays, we here at NUELOW Games fell... and we're having a hard time getting back up. We will get back up, eventually, and you'll once again be able to enjoy a steady stream of roleplaying game stuff and a variety of anthologies featuring comics and more.

One of the releases in the pipeline is Mystic Legacies of Atlantis. As a preview, here's the very cool cover that Bradley K. McDevitt created for it. It will feature d20 System rules by Steve Miller (with a few tidbits by L.L. Hundal and Andrew Pavlides, if current plans hold).

Brad McDevitt's cover for NUELOW's Mystic Legacies of Atlantis
And for a more substantial preview, here is a feat and talent tree that will be appearing in the book.

Shift Reality [Atlantean Magic, Minor Power Feat]
You can cause yourself and a number of specified targets to temporarily move into a pocket dimension. The location and environment appears unchanged, but you and specified targets are the only living things inside it.
   Prerequisite: Intelligence 12, Wisdom 12
   Benefit: By spending a full round action concentrating on your surroundings and nearby beings, you may immediately transport yourself and a number of living targets equal to your Wisdom bonus to a pocket dimension that has a diameter in feet equal to your Wisdom bonus times 5. Targets must be within the diameter of the pocket dimension in order to be transported. Unwilling targets may roll a Will save (DC20) if they choose to resist.
   The pocket dimension exists slightly out of phase with the normal universe. The location and environmental factors remain the same, but any living creatures in the area appear slightly transparent to those in the pocket dimension, and those in the pocket dimension remain completely invisible to them. Nothing that occurs outside the pocket dimension can harm those within it, and nothing that occurs in the pocket dimension can impact people or places outside it. If a building is lit on fire in the pocket dimension, its counterpart in the main universe remains unaffected.
   You are always at the center of the pocket dimension. As you move, so does its boundaries. Characters who do not move with you, will be left out of the pocket dimension once its area no longer includes them. Once a character drops out of a pocket dimension, they cannot reenter it unless they possess the Shift Reality feat themselves.
   Once the pocket dimension has been established, it lasts for a number of minutes equal to your Wisdom bonus, or until you choose to return yourself and others to the normal world, fall unconscious, or die. The pocket dimension moves with you, and you are always its center. Characters who do not move with him or her, will find themselves back in the normal world.
    Special: If other characters with the Shift Reality feat enter a pocket dimension established by another character, it expands to consist of overlapping areas, with each character serving as a “center” of a zone making of the pocket dimension. The entering character will still drop out of the pocket dimension if he gets too far away from the character or created it,
   This feat is a prerequisite for the Reality Shaper talent tree, as well as other superpower talent trees.

 Reality Shaper Talent Tree
Reality Shapers were generally viewed with suspicion by most other practitioners of Atlantean magic--even more than the Necromancers. They could do little but create temporary pocket dimensions and while some would use these skills to protect themselves or others from harm, others used them to escape after committing crimes or to commit crimes and assassinations.
   The foundation of a Reality Shaper's power is found in the Shift Reality feat.
   Gravity Manipulation: Make a successful Will save (DC18) as a standard action. Change the direction of gravity within the pocket dimension by 90 degrees to your left, your right, your front or back, causing walls or the outside of buildings to become the new “ground,” or to make those standing on the ground “fall” in the direction of the new “down.” You may specify the targets you wish to be impacted or you can have the change in gravity affect all, including or excluding yourself. You do not need to concentrate once the effect has been established but may act as normal. You may restore gravity to its regular state for those affected at will by taking a standard action.
   Your pocket dimension increases in area to a diameter of your Wisdom bonus in feet times 10. The number of beings you may target for transport to the pocket dimension increases to twice your Wisdom bonus.
   Prerequisite: Shift Reality feat
   World Warper: Make a successful Will save (DC15) as a standard action. You can cause solid surfaces to ripple like waves in water. If you are affecting a surface you are standing upon, the surface under you remains firm. All other beings must roll a Reflex save (DC 15 plus your Wisdom bonus). All who fail fall prone and lose all actions for the rest of the round; those who succeed suffer a -4 penalty on attack rolls and skill checks for the rest of the round.
   The following round, characters who fell may attempt to get back on their feet by taking a standard action and making another Reflex save (DC15), or a successful Acrobatics skill check. If they succeed, they will be able to perform any other actions they are due with a -4 penalty, just like those who didn’t fall previously.
   You may keep the designated surfaces rippling for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom plus your Intelligence bonus, and as long as you perform no actions other than defensive ones, such as dodging or deflecting attacks. If you take damage, you may roll a Concentration skill check to maintain the effect. You may end the ripple effect before the maximum time as a free action.
   Your pocket dimension increases in area to a diameter of your Wisdom bonus in feet times 20. The number of beings you may target for transport to the pocket dimension increases to four your Wisdom bonus
   Prerequisite: Gravity Manipulation
   World Breaker: Make a successful Will save (DC15) as a standard action. Your pocket dimension breaks into a number of pieces equal to your three times your Wisdom bonus, with some pieces floating higher than the one you stand on, and others flowing lower—roll a 1d6 for each character in the pocket dimension when you break it to see if they are on a plane above you (1-2), even to yours (3-4), or above you (5-6). Each character will be standing on their own fragment initially.
   Each part of your pocket dimension has its own gravity. Roll 1d6 for each piece that has a character on it. If the result is 1-4, the fragment has the same gravity as yours. If it is 5-6, the gravity is opposite. Characters who are on them are upside down from your vantage point, and visa-versa.
   The pieces are floating freely around each other, but one fragment is always within jumping distance (Jump skill check DC8 for ones on your plane, DC4 for those below, and DC16 for those above), although characters will have to cross 1d6 fragments to reach one where another is standing. To jump to a fragment with gravity that is reversed from the one you start from, you must roll a Wisdom check (DC11) or fall to ground and lose all actions for the rest of the round because you are disoriented by the shift in gravity.
   The number of fragments that a pocket dimension breaks into is equal to the number of characters in it, plus 1d6+6. The total space of a broken pocket dimension is 5 times the diameter of its size when whole.
   The pocket dimension can be reassembled by you making a successful Will save (DC12) as a standard action. Characters who were standing on fragments with gravity reversed from that of yours must roll Ref saves (DC14) or stumble to the ground and lose all actions for the rest of the round.
   Prerequisite: World Warper

Thursday, January 5, 2017

More d20 System superpowers: The Dreamwalkers

Here's another minor power feat and talent tree to expand upon it. It will probably end up in the upcoming d20 System book about the Atlantean survivors and descendants  that walk among us in the modern world, or maybe in the one about Satan's offspring that are also among us. Or maybe it will sit around until the superpowers system finally becomes a reality.

The rest of this post is presented under the Open Game License, and it may be reproduced in accordance with those terms. Copyright 2017 Steve Miller.

Dream Viewer [Minor Power Feat]
 You are able to passively observe the dreams of others and with a great exertion of willpower calm nightmares.
   Prerequisite: Wisdom 12
   Benefit: Before you go to sleep, focus on a person you have previously met and make a Will save (DC18 if only met in passing, DC12 if a conversation was had, DC8 if a great deal of time was spent together, DC4 if close family member or loved one). If that person is also sleeping, you will share his or her dreams as if they were your own. You will generally speaking only be a spectator, but you will follow the dreamer as closely and as unnoticed as his or her shadow. If the dream is a nightmare, you may roll a second Will save, with a +4 increase to the DCs as above, to calm it and make it less terrifying to the dreamer.
   When you awaken, you always remember the dream witnessed with crystal clarity. As you watch the dream, you are able to recognize which parts of it are the most important, even if they are metaphorical dream symbols. If they are especially obscure, the GM may ask you to roll a Knowledge (Psychology) skill check to recognize them instead of simply revealing them. If the skill check fails, you will have a sense that something is important about a particular element of the dream, but you will not be able to quite put your finger on what it is.

Dream Walker Talent Tree
When you are sleeping, you may move as easily between the dreams of others as you move from one room to another when awake.
Dream Walker: After entering a target's dream using the Dream Viewer feat, you may attempt to enter the dreams of someone they know by picturing that person in your mind and making a successful Will save (DC18 if only a passing acquaintance, DC12 if a conversation was had, DC8 if a great deal of time was spent together, DC4 if a close family member or loved one. If you succeed, you may now observe or control that person's dream to the extent your talents will allow.
   Prerequisite: Dream Viewer feat
Dream Hub: Once you have entered the dream of a target, you able to bring an additional number of sleepers into the dream equal to the total of your Wisdom and Charisma modifiers. If those you wish to draw into a shared dream are unwilling or unprepared to enter the dream (like you, they must have focuses on the target prior to going to sleep, although they need not have met him or her), you must make a successful Will save (DC6, plus the individual's Wisdom modifier). The characters drawn into the dream can interact with the environment at the level permitted by the feats possessed by the character with Dream Hub.
   Whether willing or not, characters who are drawn into a dream must roll a Wisdom check to realize they are in a dream. If they fail the roll, their actions are dictated by the direction of dream rather than their own. The GM temporarily gains control of the character. Additional Wisdom checks may be made whenever something particularly strange or the character does something that is usually against his or her nature. The player decides when such rolls are to be made, and once the check is successful, the player once again fully controls the character.
   You can also use Dream Hub to draw others into your own dreams in the same fashion. To do this, you must first have constructed a Dream Palace (see the Dream Shaper talent).
  If you draw a character into your own dream or a dream you control, and that character possesses the Dream Shaper talent, they can collaborate with you to create complete Dreamscapes within your Dream Palace (see the Dream Shaper talent) that others can be drawn into.
  Prerequisite: Dream Stalker, Dream Shaper
Dream Stalker: You have the ability to enter the dreams of any person who you have at least seen a picture of. From there, you can determine his or her exact location by making a successful Wisdom check (DC11). The location is revealed within the context of the dream, as a map or a picture of where the target is, and you remember the location when you wake up.
  Prerequisite: Dream Walker
  Dream Shape: Create a second character. When you enter a dream using the Dream Stalker talent, this is your basically who you are. All attributes are 12, but one is increased by +6, one by +4, one by +2, and one by +1. Your character classes and levels remain the same, but you may reassign skill points and feats for this dream character in any way you like, except that your dream-self always possesses the Dream Viewer minor power feat and whatever talents from the Dream Walker talent tree you possess. Additionally, you gain three bonus Minor Power feats and three bonus talents from any trees except the Dream Walker talent tree.
   With a Will save (DC12) you may change the appearance of your dream character, but all attributes remain the same.
   Prerequisite: Dream Stalker
   Dream Shaper: With a successful Will save (DC11 plus the total of the target's Wisdom and Intelligence bonuses), you may alter the dream of that you have entered. You can choose to control the behavior of characters in the dream, change the setting of the dream, and any other change you wish to make. The Will save target is the same DC whether you are attempting a minor change or a major change. Each change you wish to make to the dream requires an separate roll. (Changing the behavior of minor characters or location of the dream can be done with one roll each, but important characters require a separate roll for each one.)
   If you attempt to impact part of the dream and fail, you may attempt that change again, but the DC increases by +2. The DC increase is only for the retry on already failed changes; if you try something different, the DC is still at the base.
   If you attempt to alter a person's dreamworld in a way that they find too shocking or upsetting, you risk losing control. This triggers a Will save on the part of the target (DC15) and if it is successful, you are ejected from the dream and you cannot reestablish contact for at least three days. (The target's subconcious mental defenses realialized something was up, and natural mental defenses kicked in.)
   Dream Shaper can also be used to create a "Dream Palace." This is a mental structure that exists in your mind, with any appearance you wish it to have. Each room is either a memory you wish to examine, or a pre-constructed dreamscape that either you or another character with the Dream Shaper talent can create in collaboration with you--and into which you may draw other dreamers if you desire.
   If using the Dream Palace to examine your own memories, you watch as an invisible spectator as events unfold. You may make Knowledge, Search or Spot skill checks (with a +10 bonus) to see something out of the ordinary or notice whatever it is you are looking for in your own mind. You may also roll Sense Motive skill checks (also with a +10 bonus)
This environment is one that is under your control, and the targeted dreamer that you wish to draw into it will not receive a second saving throw due to extreme changes, and any changes you or other characters allied with you wish to make to the dream environment are made with straight DC11 Will saves with no DC increases due to failed attempts.