Monday, December 31, 2018

New d20 System feat: Fortune Telling

What will the new year bring? Well, with this new d20 System feat, your character might know. (This is an initial draft idea that will probably see some revision and expansion. But the text in this post is still presented under the Open Game License, and it may be reproduced in accordance with it.

FORTUNE TELLING [Supernatural]
Most believe you are a charlatan--and, frankly, maybe you do have a little touch of that in you--but your ability to see the future is quite real. It may not always be reliable, and your visions may not always be clear, but you do more good than harm.
   Prerequisite: Wisdom 12, Charisma 12, Foresight feat
   Benefit: By spending 2d6 minutes less a number of minutes equal to his or her Wisdom bonus, and studying some focus device, the character may use one of several benefits gained by this feat, up to three times per day. The focus device can be a deck of tarot cards, a crystal ball, grounds or leaves at the bottom of a cup, chicken bones, or any other item associated with fortune telling or seeing the future.
   The abilities derived from this feat are as follows. Each requires a Wisdom check to use successfully; the GM may choose to make the roll on the player's behalf in secret or may allow the player to roll it him- or herself. If the Wisdom check is successful, the GM must provide as truthful answers as possible, but a failed roll can either provide completely false information or no result at all. ("Your destiny is cloudy... many powerful forces are arrayed against you.")
   Weal or Woe: Reveal if a course of action will be mostly beneficial or mostly harmful for the person considering it; this is a "yes" or "no" question. (DC8)
   Locate Object or Person: See the current location of an object or person, as well as having a sense of how dangerous it might be to remove it from that location. The vision provides clues as to where the place is, although further research or use of fortune-telling abilities may be needed to determine what they mean and how they can lead characters to the location. (DC12)
   Sense Destiny: See a vision of a location and/or a person that will have a major impact on the person being considered during the fortune-telling. If it's a location, there are clues present as to where it might be. If it's a person, the vision is clear enough that he or she can be described in detail, and there will be a unique object seen that is associated with him or her. (DC12 minimum... the higher above the target number the roll, the clearer the vision.)

What are the tea leaves revealing to her via the Fortune Telling feat?

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas is Here: What Ruins It for the Heroes?

A little Christmas-y content for your enjoyment!
Even heroes celebrate Christmas, but they rarely get to have the quiet parties they hope for--something or someoone dangerous always pops up to ruin it for them. Which is why their Christmas adventures feature themes like this:

Here's a table to randomly generate the threat that ruins the heroes' Christmas. You may not have time to run it this year (unless you actually know what the Twelve Days of Christmas are), but maybe next year. Or maybe for "Christmas in July"!

  1. An old foe they thought long gone returns for revenge.
  2. An old foe they tought long dead returns at the head of an army of zombies.
  3. An old foe begs for their help to stop an even worse evil.
  4. While dinner is cooking, the oven mysteriously malfunctions and fire elementals escape onto the Prime Material Plane.
  5. While dinner is cooking, the oven mysteriously malfunctions and reanimates the Christmas meal as a feiry, murderous beast-zombie.
  6. While dinner is cooking, the oven mysteriously malfunctions and causes everyone gathering for the Christmas dinner (and the entire house they're in) to be transported to Hell.
  7. Santa has been kidnapped by vengeful Martians, and it's up to the heroes to save him and Christmas!
  8. Santa's Daughter, Sugarplum, has been kidnapped by her crazed ex-boyfriend and Santa has come to the heroes for help.
  9. Cultists have summoned Narlahohohotep--the Caroler Out of Space--at Nakatomi Plaza.
 10. Santa's Reindeer have been stolen.
 11. A serial killer is on the loose!
 12. Roll two more times on the table, ignoring and rerolling duplicate results and additional results of 12. Both things converge to ruin the heroes' Christmas!

And while the heroes may feel like they're Two Steps from Hell, it's Christmas! So everything will hopefully turn out right in the end!

By Boris Vallejo

Friday, December 21, 2018

More Holiday Feats!

'Tis the Season for Feats... and these should appeal to d20 System gamers wether they love of hate Christmas! (All feats in this post are presented under the Open Game License.)

GRINCH [General]
You are adept at stealing that which might bring others joy.
   Benefit: From December 15 through January 5 each year, you gain a +4 bonus to all Disable Device/Traps, Hide, Move Silently and Open Locks skill checks made to steal gifts, packages, and holiday decorations.
   Special: During the rest of year, bonus is reduced to +1.

Whether you're pro-Christmas ("there's a war on Christmas!"/"I am insulted that you wished me Happy Holidays!") or anti-Christmas ("your cultural appropriation of the trappings of dead pagan religions offends me"/"I feel violated by your Christmas decorations!"), you are a brilliant at ruining everyone's good mood and holiday cheer.
   Benefit: Whenever the character is within 30 ft. of Christmas decorations, or other items related by Christmas, or someone brings up anything related to Christmas or wishes him or her "Happy Holidays!", you gain a +4 bonus to Intimidate skill checks, as well as a +2 bonus to all melee attack rolls. You also impose a -2 penalty on Morale checks. The effects last until the character leaves the area.
   Special: The benefits of this feat can also apply to Easter, Kwanza, Yom Kippur, Ramadan... any major holiday during which others want to have fun or enjoy each other's company and fellowship that the character wants to ruin. In such cases, the player merely needs to say that he or she is applying the Holiday Warrior benefits to the holiday in question.

KRAMPUS [General]
The naughty had better watch out!
   Prerequisite: Naughty or Nice
   Benefit: You gain a +3 bonus to attack and damage rolls against targets identified using the Naughty or Nice feat. In addition, any spells or spell-like abilities uses agains the target function at one level higher than the character's actual caster level.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Santa Slayings

Here's a Christmas Season-appropriate random mystery/horror adventure outline generator that was inspired by a combination of a drawing by Bryan Baugh and a spooky version of "Carol of the Bells" by rock group Halocene. (The video and song can be enjoyed at the bottom of this post.)

The beautiful people are being hacked to death with an axe and various objects associated with Christmas are left scattered about the bodies. Witnesses report a decidedly non-jolly, white bearded man has been spotted near each of the murders. Can the heroes stop the slaughter before the happy goes completely out of the holidays for everyone?

   1. July 24 ("Christmas in July")
   2-3. November 20.
   4-5. December 12 ("The 12th Day of Christmas")
   6. December 25 ("The 12 Days of Christmas")

WHO IS KILLED? (Roll 1d6)
   1. A Family (Mother, Father 1-6 children)
   2. Drunken Partiers (1d6+1 Guys, 1d6+1 Girls)
   3. Sexy Santas (1d6 Girls, 1d6-1 Guys)
   4. Church Choir Members (2d6 Guys, 2d6 Girls)
   5. Toy Company Executives (1d6)
   6. Activists (1-3 Pro Christmas, 1d6 killed; 4-6 Anti Christmas, 1d6 killed)

   1. Every 1d6 hours.
   2. Every 2d6 hours.
   3. Every other day until 12 days have passed. He then goes quiet until next Christmas.
   4. Every third day until 12 days have passed. He then goes quiet until next Christmas.
   5. Every third day until stopped.
   6. The strikes three times, 2d6 hours between killings. He then comes for the player characters.

   Roll 1d6 on the WHO IS KILLED table each time the killer strikes. There are 1d6-1 survivors who describe the killer as "Santa Claus."

  1-2. A Psychopathic Mall Santa Who's Blossomed into a Serial Killer Who Hates Those Who Love Christmas.
   3-4. An Insane Religious Fanatic Who Punishes Those Who Aren't Keeping Christmas Holy.
   5. A Demon Who Was Accidentially Summoned By a Church Group Who Was Praying for God to Punish Those Who Don't Observe the Proper Christmas Spirit. (They were actually the first victims, and the party may discover this during their investigation.)
   6. It's Santa Claus Who Has Snapped and Decided That Anyone Who Is Naughty Must Die.

   1. By making him understand the meaning of Christmas, so he will willingly be brought to justice.
   2. By killing him.
   3. By cornering him and forcing him to surrender to be brought to justice.
   4. By killing him.
   5. By performing a magical ritual involving milk and cookies that will calm the murderous creature and make him regret what he has done and allow him to return to his . (Works only on the Demon and Santa.)
   6. By killing him.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Christmas is Coming!

'Tis the Season for Percussion Magic!

A few years ago, we posted some "Little Drummer Boy" inspired artifacts (the Drum of Bethlehem and the Drumsticks of Bethlehem). We're returning to the percussion theme, using the neat music in the video above as our inspiration.
   To read up on tabla drums, click on this link. Watching the video above should give you a good idea however. Basically, a set of tabla drums (known just as "tabla") is at least two drums, a daya (right drum) and a baya (left drum). The daya carries the main melody while the baya provides the bass.
The portions of this post from "The Magical Tabla Drums" to the end are presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2018 Steve Miller.

There are an unknown number of magical tabla drums in the world. No one knows how they are created, nor who creates them, but numerous wise men have claimed that they are gifts to the world from Saraswati, goddess of music and knowledge, bestowed either as rewards to worshipers and musicians who have impressed her, or as sources of reassurance and comfort during trying times. The music of the drums are rumored to strengthen the powers of holy men and women, cure the sick, and fill warriors with the strength and prowess of war gods.
   Magical tabla drums are always found in sets consisting of 1d4+2 daya and 1d2 baya. They rarely radiate any form of magic (only 1%  chance) and when they do, it is always of a weak, undeterminable type. The function of the drums can only be determined by playing them. If a set is broken up, the magic is disrupted.
   A silence spell centered upon the characer playing the tabla will negate the drums' effects and totally disrupt their magic. Characters who were within range of the drums' magic must roll successful Will saves (DC10+caster level) to retain the benefits of having heard the music (see below for details).

The Tabla of Comfort and Joy
When a skilled musician plays a tune on these drums--with a successful DC12 Perform (percussion instrument) skill check--all who can hear the music within a 60-ft radius become immune to negative mind-effecting magic and spell-like effects, such as fear spells or illusions designed to frighten or cause other forms of distress. Divine spells cast with the intent of heal, comfort, or otherwise make targets feel better or more cheerful, function at two caster levels higher than the actual caster.
   The effect of the tabla start after two rounds of the mucician player, and remains in effect for a time equal to the total amount played after the musician ceases. (If the musician plays for 10 minutes, beings within a 60-foot radius enjoy he drums benefits for 20 minutes.)

The Tabla of Protection and Celebration
When a skilled musician plays a tune on these drums--with a successful DC15 Perform (percussion instrument) skill check--all who can hear the music within a 60-ft radius feel invigorated and gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws, as well as a +2 bonus to Armor Class/Defense. Characters also gain a +8 bonus to Perform (dance) skill checks, whether they have ranks in the skill or not.
   The effect of the tabla start after two rounds of the mucician player, and remains in effect for a time equal to the total amount played after the musician ceases. (If the musician plays for 10 minutes, beings within a 60-foot radius enjoy he drums benefits for 20 minutes.)

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Christmas is Coming!

Let's kick off the month with a great version of a favorite Christmas song here at NUELOW Games, "We Three Kings." The video is even better.

And here's a feat by in case you want to play/include a Magi or three in your d20 System games! (The rest of this post is released under the Open Game License, and the following material may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2018 Steve Miller.)

You can find guidance in the stars, both metaphorically and literally.
   Prerequisite: Intelligence 12, Wisdom 12.
   Benefit: By spending 1d3+1 hours studying the night sky, making notations, and comparing the results to a series of charts and diagrams, the character can gain any of the following benefits once per day.
   Momentous Destination: The stars reveal a prophecy that states you are to travel to a distant location where you will have a fateful encounter that may have world altering consequences and bring you great riches or power or knowledge, or all of the above. The direction in which you must travel is made clear, but the exact location to which you must travel and how far away it might be is not. (Note: The destination can be a town, a ruin, a dungeoun, or stable on the outskirts of a small town. It can be anything, really, where the GM has the next big adventure planned, or even the locaton of climax of the current adventure... because getting there is half the fun!)
   Smooth Travel: The stars reveal the easiest route to take while traveling toward a momenteous destination for one day of the journey, eliminating any overland movement penalties due to terrain type. You gain the benefit of a successful Survival skill check.  If the character doesn't have access to a map of the region, a Navigation or Survival skill check (DC15) to gain this benefit.
   Seer: The stars reveal if you are within a day's journey of the momenteous destination. You may also use the effects of the augury spell as if cast by a cleric of your total character levels.