Sunday, October 6, 2019

Tin Foil Hats and More for the d20 System

In 1954, the Soviet bloc and NATO cooperated on first repelling, and then covering up, an alien invasion of Earth. The aliens' main weapons were telepathy-based, and they were able to make humans see what they wanted them to see. Although the aliens were defeated, the world's militaries and intelligence organizations couldn't be sure they had been driven off the planet completely, so they worked to create means by which their troops and operatives could keep from falling victim to the aliens mind-effecting powers, or to see through them even after falling sway to them.

With the immediate threat averted, however, cooperation between the two military alliances soon faltered, and it ceased completely when it was discovered that the Soviet military had been infiltrated by the aliens and that the enemy was undermining the effort to invent countermeasures. Many of their top scientists NATO--led by Britain and the U.S., with assistance from Japanese scientists--had better luck, and created two different types of devices to defend against the aliens: Psychic Blockers (codenamed "Tin Foil Hats" and Ocular Filters (codenamed "Cheap Sunglasses").

NATO's anti-alien devices were manufactured in labs located in a remote corner of what is referred to as Area 51 in Nevada. Their method of creation, and the fact they even were being created and given to chosen military personnel and intelligence operatives was such a carefully guarded secret that when a mishap with Atlantean technology in 1983 caused the building housing the lab and all in it to be shifted to another dimension, the knowledge of their existence was all but lost.

The surviving aliens of the 1954 invasion attempt have been trying to find and destroy the remaining devices, as they attempt to soften humanity for the day when another full-forced invasion is launched, while the U.S. government has been trying to reclaim and protect the devices.

The Tin Foil Hat comes in two different varieties: one that can be subtly shaped and fit inside (or over) other headgear, and one that looks like the crude and cartoonish, tin-foil hat from conspiracy theory jokes. (The first variety was made in the government labs at Area 51, while the other was made by a researcher who went rogue and decided the general public needed to warned about the psychic aliens and given the means to protect themselves. From 1978 through his death in 2019, he made and distributed an unknown number of these while living life on the run from both government agents and aliens.)
   Although both varieties appear to be made from tin foil, they are made of a special material, the formula for which was lost when the secret lab was dimensionally shifted.
   When worn, the Psychic Blocker grants a character enhanced protection to all mind-effecting magic, mind-effecting  spell-like effects, and mind-effecting psychic or psionic powers. When targeted with such abilities or spells, the wearer gains a +6 bonus to the Will save to resist. If no saving throw would normally be allowed, the character may roll a Will save with a +3 bonus to resist.

Type (and Number) of Psychic Blocker Found
Psychic Blockers are usually located in abandoned government safehouses, hideouts for aliens or human traitors working with them, or among the possessions of dead friends (who passed away under mysterious circumstances, or simply of old age) or defeated foes. Roll 1d10 the following table to see what kind of Psychic Blocker, as well as how many, is found by the player characters.

1d10 Result      Type of Blocker      Number Found
1                       First Variety            1
2                       First Variety            1d6
3                       First Variety            1d6+1
4-6                   Second Variety        1d6+2
7-9                   Second Variety        2d6+2
10                    Second Variety        3d6-1

These appear to be normal sunglasses that are made in styles that were popular in the 1960s, 1970s, or up until the mid-1980s. The lenses, however, are made with materials derived from alien technology that was recovered from their wrecked ships.
   When worn, the character can see all things as they actually are. With a Spot skill check (DC8) the wearer of sees though illusions generated by magic or psychic sources, sees the exact locations of creatures or objects under blur or displacement effects, sees invisible creatures or objects normally, and sees the true form of polymorphed, changed, or transmuted things. Creatures who can shapechange, like certain supernatural beings, will be surrounded by a vague, faintly glowing shape of their natural form, or their most commonly used alternate appearance. The range of the ocular filter is the wearer's line of sight. They will also reveal the true appearance of beings and items in photographs, broadcasted signals, or in films.
Number Found and Styles of Ocular Filters Found 
Ocular Filters are usually located in abandoned government safehouses, hideouts for aliens or human traitors working with them, or among the possessions of dead friends (who passed away under mysterious circumstances, or simply of old age) or defeated foes. Roll 1d10 the following table to see what kind of Psychic Blocker, as well as how many, is found by the player characters.

1d10 Result      Number Found and Style
1                       1d3 1960s
2                       1d2 1960s, 1d2 1970
3                       1d3 1970s
4                       1d3 1970s, 1d3 1980s
5-7                   1d3+1 1970s, 1d3+1 1980s
8-9                   1d2 1970s, 1d6+1 1980s
10                    1d2 1960s, 1d6 1970s, 1d6+3 1980s

All text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 Steve Miller. (If you find this material useful or interesting, please purchase some of our actual products. It will encourage us to make more!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Of Love and Muses (and Vengeance): d20 Muses and Erinyes

Bessie Love began her acting career in 1915, after her Mom told her to get a job. D.W. Griffith, at Biograph Studios, first gave her a couple small parts, but she struck a chord with audiences and her star rose quickly. She spent the next 15 years playing bubbly, energetic, and adventuresome young ladies. As sound arrived to film, Love was aging out of her signature roles, and her Hollywood career began to fizzle. She moved to England in the mid-1930s where she continued to act on radio, stage, and later, television.

Bessie Love in Greece, 1938
(Photo by Dr. Henry W. Jones, Jr.)
But, as revealed in this post and this post, Bessie Love was more than just an actress: She actively battled the forces of occult evil for 25 years, from 1925 through 1950.

During one of her adventures, in 1938, Love stopped the fascist government of Greece from gaining control of the Muses and channeling their powers to corrupt the creative urge of humans across the world. The Muses were so grateful for Love's intervention that they now often wear her form when appearing before petitioners and those exceptional people to whom they wish to offer gifts and inspiration unbidden. It was also at that time that she came into possession of the ritual through which a random or specific Muse can be called and asked for assistance.

There are two rituals for summoning a muse. They are essentially the same, but one involves an extra where a summoner (who must also be the petitioner--the person who is seeking the Muses's assistance) can name the specific Muse he wishes to call to him. Both versions of the ritual are detailed on a scroll that dates back to the days of Ancient Greece.
   On the version of the rituals recovered by Bessie Love, notes scribbled in modern-day Greek on the back of the scroll state that either version should only be performed every ten days. "Performing either more frequently will result in total failure, or always call E.," the note concludes.

Summoning a Random Muse
Using ink mixed with the blood, sweat and tears of a creative person or performer, the petitioner must write his or name on fabric or paper that has been carried close to the skin of an artist or performer for at least three days (this does not need to be the same person the blood, sweat, and tears were collected from).
   The petitioner must take the inscribed item to a place where creative or intellectual activities of creation or sharing take place, such as a theater, art studio, or university lecture hall. Muses may also be summoned on the slope of Mount Elikonas where the original temple to Zeus stood in ancient times, or anywhere on the island of Melos. (All these places are considered sacred by the Muses.)
    Once at the intended summoning location, the petitioner must burn the item while reciting the following words:

Oh, beautiful Spirit of Creation!
I ask you to spark within me a fire!
I ask you to let the light of Inspiration burn through the night!
Come, beautiful Spirit of Creation!

Ourania the Muse, as she appears in modern day
  This incantation must be spoken loudly 1d6 times while the item is being consumed by the flames. Then, what appears to be a slender young woman appears, forming instantly from the faint tendrils of smoke twisting in the air. She says that she has been called by the drive to create and that she will help if she can.
   The summoner gains a base +1 bonus to all Craft, Knowledge, and Perform skill checks made for three days after the Muse was called, with the benefit expiring as the sun sets on the third day. Specific Muses grant the summoner additional benefits detailed below. (These expire at the same time as the base benefit.)
   A random Muse answers the petitioners call in the simplest form of the ritual. Unless asked, she does not reveal her name, nor spell out what boons she is granting the petitioner. To see which Muse appears and what benefits she grants the petitioner, the GM rolls a d10 on the following table:

d10 Roll/Muse     Benefits Granted
1. Calliope           +4 bonus to all Diplomacy, Knowledge (Law),
                             and Craft (Writing) skill checks.  +2 bonus to
                             Will saves to resist Fear effects.
                                Calliope sometimes wears a crown.
2. Clio                  +4 bonus to all Research, Knowledge (History),
                             Perform (Guitar/Plucked Stringed Instruments)
                             skill checks.
                                 Clio usually appears holding a book.
3. Erato                +4 bonus to all Seduction, Sense Motive, and
                            Craft (Writing) skill checks. The bonus on
                            Craft (Writing) increases to +6 if the character
                            is writing romantic poetry or lyrics.
                                Erato usually appears carrying a lyre.
4. Euterpe            +4 bonus to all Diplomacy, Investigate, and
                             Perform (Wind Instruments) skill checks.
                                Euterpe usually appears carrying a flute.
5. Melpomene     +4 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Perform (Act)
                            skill checks. +4 bonus to all saving throws and
                            attack rolls while fighting on behalf of those
                            who live on the Isle of Melos.
                                 Melpomene usually appears carrying a combat
                            knife and wearing a Tragedy mask (which she
                            removes before speaking to a petitioner).
6. Ourania           +4 bonus to Knowledge (Astrology),
                            Knowledge (Astronomy), and Navigation
                            skill checks.
                                Ourania appears wearing a gown that glitters as
                            if it were made of stars and carrying a small globe
                            of the planet Earth.
7. Polymnia        +4 bonus to Craft (Music), Craft (Sculpture),
                            Knowledge (Mathematics), Knowledge (Religion),
                            and Perform (Song) skill checks.
                                Polymnia  usually appears carrying a lyre.
8. Terpsichore    +4 bonus to all Knowledge and Perform (Dance)
                           skill checks. The bonus on Knowledge skill checks
                           increases to +6 if the skill check is being made to
                           pass the knowledge onto other characters.
                               Terpsichore usually appears wearing a laurel
                           wreath on her head and carrying a harp.
9. Thalia             +4 bonus to Knowledge (Mathematics),
                            Craft (Structural), Craft (Writing/Art),
                            Perform (Comedy) skill checks. The bonus on
                            Craft (Writing/Art) increases to +6 if
                            the work is humorous in nature. +1 bonus to
                            attack rolls when wielding a scythe or sickle.
                               Thalia appears wearing a Comedy mask, which
                           she removes before speaking with the petitioner.
                           She also often carries a club painted in bright,
                           cheerful colors.
10. Erinyes         +4 bonus to Bluff and Intimidate skill checks,
                           as well as a +2 bonus to all attack and damage
                           rolls. However, after the three days have passed,
                           if the summoner has harmed or killed innocent or
                          defenseless sentient beings within three days
                          prior to calling the Muses, or while enjoying the
                          benefits of the summoning, the summoner will be
                          subject to a curse that imposes a -4 penalty on all
                          attack rolls, ability checks, skill checks, and
                          savings throws. The curse can only be lifted with
                          a miracle, wish, or if the summoner specifically
                          calls upon Erinyes by following the steps detailed
                          below. (Erinyes is not one of the Muses, but rather
                          a goddess of vengeance who enjoys answering
                          calls for of those other entities, posing as them,
                          and then cursing and forcing atonement out of
                          those she feels have escaped punishment for

Summoning a Specific Muse
The ritual and preparation needed to summon a particular Muse is similar to what is described above, with the following differences: The petitioner writes the name of the Muse he or she wishes to summon above his or her own name, and replaces "Spirit of Creation" in the first and last lines of the spoken incantation with the Muse's name.

Calliope, after being rescued by Bessie Love in 1938
   Once the specific Muse appears, the petitioner is immediately drained of 500XP, the spiritual cost of demanding that a divine being manifest in the presence of a mortal. In addition to benefits the Muse grants upon appearing, she will also answer up to seven questions relating to arts, sciences, creation, and specific artists, performers, and scientists. (The number of questions that will be answered equals 1d6+1, with an additional questions equal to the petitioners Charisma bonus, to a maximum of seven.)
   In addition to knowledge and the temporary blessings, a specific summoned Muse can also be asked to grant the petitioner one of the following permanent benefits, for a price:
   *Gain Educated, Investigator, Skill Focus, or Leadership as a bonus feat.
   *Make a single Craft, Knowledge, or Perform skill a permanent class skill.
   *Gain a permanent +1 increase to Wisdom or Charisma attribute (maximum of three increases for each attribute, and the attribute cannot be raised of 19; the Muses don't want too much competition from mortals)..
   As soon as the Muse grants the petitioner's request, he or she is drained of 1,000XP.
   Whether a character is wishing to summon a specific Muse, or is requesting a permanent benefit, the experience point cost cannot cause the character to drop below his or her current level.
   If the 500XP drain would bring about a level loss, no points are drained. The GM should roll on the table above to see what Muse (or if Erinyes) appears.
   If the 1,000XP cost would bring about a level loss, no points are drained. The Muse tells the character that she feels he or she is not ready to fully appreciate the gift being asked for, but that she may give it in the future.
   The summoned Muse may also ask the petitioner to undertake a quest, or may offer additional assistance if the petitioner is engaged in a struggle she considered important. Some Muses may lend the character an artifact to use for the duration of the quest or struggle. The item is returned to the Muse once the quest is over, or the danger has passed. (These artifacts, and conditions surrounding their use, are detailed in this post.)
   If the petitioner agrees to undertake a quest for the Muse, the 500XP lost during original summoning are immediately regained. This is the only way the XPs taken by the Muses can be restored (other than through the normal methods of earning additional experience points).

Multiple Summoning Attempts
Despite the note on the scroll recovered by Bessie Love in 1938, the ritual to call the Muses can be performed by the same petitioner with possible success as frequently as often as every four days. It's only with a ten-day period between summonings that there is a high likelihood of actually calling a Muse.
   If less than three days go between summonings or summoning attempts, the call will always fail.
   If there are between 4 and 9 days between summonings, the GM must roll 1d10 against the following table to see the results.

1d10    Result of Frequent Summoning Attempts
1-2.       Failure. The Muses and Erinyes ignore the call.
3-8.      Erinyes answers.
9-10.    Roll on the Summon a Random Muse table

Summoning Erinyes
Calling upon Erinyes is not something that is recommended by mystics, occultists, or any sane individual. She exists to first and foremost to punish the wicked, and anyone who purposefully calls upon her will either find themselves a target of her punishment, or an instrument of search to avenge those who have been wronged. The one possible exception would be for someone who has been subjected to her curse while she was posing as another goddess, as asking her directly to lift the curse may be the easiest option.
   There is a base 90% chance that an attempt to call Erinyes will be successful. That chance increases by 1% for each additional person who takes part in the ritual (91% for two individuals, 92% for three, 93% for four, and so on).
   Those who wish to summon Erinyes, must write her name on a piece of paper, parchment, or thin piece of bark in their own blood. They must then wrap this document around a weapon that they have used against a sentient being, or which has been used by a sentient being against them. The item must then be placed into a fire, and the summoners must chant Erinyes' name with increasing volume 2d10+2 times. At the moment the goddess appears, the fire explodes upwards and is instantly snuffed out and replaced with thick, acrid smoke with swirls and coalesces into the manifestation of the goddess. The weapon and the material is was wrapped in are completely consumed, taken by the goddess as an initial offering.

A manifestation of Erinyes
    When directly called upon, Erinyes wastes no time with pleasantries, but immediately demands to know why those who have called her think they are worthy of her attention (or mercy, if they have been cursed by her).
    If she finds the answer lacking (if it's too arrogant, or if an attempt is made to deceive her, for example), she glares silently and with obvious disgust at those who called her and then dissolves into smoke. If those who summoned her aren't already cursed, for the next three days, they suffer a -2 penalty to all skill checks, saving throws, and attack rolls (with the effect ending at sundown on the third day, or following a miracle or wish).
   If Erinyes finds the characters worthy of her, her response depends on why she has been summoned.
   If she is being called to aid in a quest for revenge: She will answer four questions that the summoner believes will provide help in bringing about the revenge being sought. She will warn those who summoned her that revenge may not satisfy their thirst for justice, and that that if they are not careful, they may themselves become the monster they seek to slay. If summoners do not subsequently seriously pursue their attempt to gain revenge, she will subject them to the curse described in the result for rolling a 10 on the table for summoning Muses in the Summoning a Random Muse section.
   If she is being called to lift a curse on one or more of those who have summoned her: The summoners are charged with bringing a murderer or other criminal who has caused suffering to justice. Here are some suggestions for missions that Erinyes may task characters with. She lifts her curse as soon as characters agree to undertake her mission of vengeance, as well as granting them the temporary blessings described in the result for rolling a 10 on the table for summoning Muses in the Summoning a Random Muse section. If the characters do not subsequently engage in serious efforts to complete Erinyes' mission, the curses all who summoned her, as described on the table.

All text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 by Steve Miller.

If you this material useful and entertaining, consider buying some of the many game supplements and anthologies of comics and short stories that NUELOW Games has to offer.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Artifacts of the Muses

NUELOW Games's primary creator Steve Miller posted his latest bit of fun that casts real-life silent movie star Bessie Love as a superhero who battled supernatural evil from 1925 to 1950 over at his 'Shades of Gray' blog. We'll eventually bring that article over here, but, in the meantime, here's a little something that ties in with that post....

By Steve Miller & L.L. Hundal
All text in this post is released under the Open Game License,
and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms

The nine goddesses of creativity and scholarship, the Muses, have a number of powerful magic items that they grant use of to those who have earned their favor, who are engaged in work they consider important, or to whom they have assigned a particular quest. The items all grant certain basic abilities to those who have the Muses' blessing to use their treasures, as well ones that are unique to each item. Those who gain possession of the items and use them without the Muses's blessing, are subjected to a curse.

General Powers and Shared Traits  of the Artifacts of the Muses
The mortal granted the use of one of the Artifacts of the Muses enjoys the following basic benefits when the item is worn, wielded, or otherwise carried on his or her person.
   * +1 bonus to all Craft, Knowledge, and Perform skill checks.
   * +1 bonus to saving throws against Mind-Affecting magic and spell-like effects.
   * Each of the Muses' artifacts radiates faint magic of an indeterminable type. Analyze and identify spells fail to reveal anything about the items. Only a wish spell, or an explanation of the item's power from one of the Muses, or the Greek gods Apollo or Erinyes can reveal the items uses. (Some uses can be gleaned through trail and error. Generally speaking, however, a character who rightfully has possession of one of the artifacts will have had their purpose explained to them.
   * Once the purpose for which the Muse lent the artifact to a mortal has been fulfilled, the artifact vanishes. (The Muse may appear to reclaim it in person, but this is rare.)

Descriptions and Powers of Individual Artifacts
   The Muse's Lyre (given by Clio, Erato, and Polymnia, a golden lyre with a silver crossbow carved with symbols representing the Nine Muses): Gain +4 bonus to all Charisma and Wisdom-based skill and attribute checks.
   Euterpe's Flute (given by Euterpe, a double flute made of wood and bound together with spun gold): Gain the ability to understand and fluently speak all languages, but not read them.
   Melpomene's Knife (given by Melpomene, a large combat knife with small symbols representing the Nine Muses etched into the blade, four on side, five on the other): This combat knife deals 1d4+5 points of damage (+5 enchantment bonus), and the person carrying or wielding cannot be flanked.
   Melpomene's Mask (given by Melpomene, an unadorned traditional theatrical Tragedy Mask made of alabaster): While worn, the mask grants a +5 bonus to Move Silently skill checks.
   Ourania's Globe: (given by Ourania, a softball-sized globe of the planet Earth): When held under the open night sky, the user can transport him- or herself, plus a number of other characters within a 10-foot radius equal to the total of the user's Intelligence and Charisma attribute bonuses, to any location he has seen on a map. The user and companions appear outside a building, or near a location, where the performance or creation of art or scholarly lectures usually takes place, or used to take place, that is closest to the specified location. The artifact can be used once every three nights. Unwilling or unaware targets of this effect receive a Will save with a +2 bonus to avoid being transported.
   Terpsechore's Crown (given by Terpsechore, a wreath of forever-fresh bay laurel branches and leaves). This wreath gives the wearer the use of a spell-like abilities that mimics charm person three times per day.
   Terpsechore's Harp (given by Terpsechore, a portable silver harp with her symbol engraved with gold on it): Grants the user a +5 bonus to Perform (Stringed Instruments) when played. If the user utters Terpsechore's name while playing the harp with a successful DC12 Perform (Stringed Instruments) skill check, a number of targets equal to his or her Charisma bonus within line of sight who can hear the music are subjected to the effects of an Irresistible Dance spell. Targets must dance for as long as the user plans the the Harp, plus a number of rounds equal to his or her Charisma bonus. If an enchanted character is attacked or otherwise injured, the effect ends and he or she may act as normal.
   Thalia's Club (given by Thalia, a two-foot long club that ends in a crook and which is painted gaily in bright blue, green, and red colors): The club deals 1d4+5 points of damage (+5 enchantment bonus), and the person carrying or wielding it has a reduction of 2 against blunt damage.
   Thalia's Mask (given by Thalia, an unadorned traditional theatrical Comedy Mask made of alabaster): While worn, the mask grants a +5 bonus to Tumble skill checks, as well as a +2 enchantment bonus to Armor Class/Defense Rating.

Possessing and Using the Artifacts Without Permission
If a character comes illicetly or unwittingly into possession of a Muse's artifact--by looting or otherwise stealing it directly from the person it was lent to, or taking it from a treasure hoard found in a long-abandoned locatation--the Muse who owns it will appear to him or her in a dream. She will introduce herself and explain to the character that if he or chooses to keep the artifact, he or she will be required to adopt the task that the person it was legitmately supposed to be in the possession of, or return the artifact within three days. The Muse will explain the original quest. (The Muse will leave it up to the character to figure out how to pursue the quest or return the item--which can be learned in a variety of ways--but the item must be brought to a place where artists and scholars either create, work, or perform.)
   If the character has not started to work toward the Muse's assignment within three days, he or she is visited in a dream by Erinyes, a goddess of revenge who is dedicated to punishing liars, cheats, and those who escape the hand of justice. Erinyes warns the character to return that which was stolen, and the the dream turns into a nightmare full of torture and monsters. The character must make a Fortitude save (DC12) or sufffer a -1 penalty to all skill checks, attribute checks, and saving throws the following day.
   Erinyes haunts the character's dreams every night until the Muse's item is returned, or until Erinyes is someone placated. Each night Erinyes sends the character nightmares, he or she must roll a Fortitude save, which increases in difficulty by 2 each night (DC12, DC14, DC16, and so on), and the penalty to checks and saving throws on the following day increases by +1 for each consequetively failed saving throw. Conversely, the penalty is reduced by 1 for each night a successful save is made.
   Magical wards and spells intended to protect the character from being haunted by the goddess in hir or her dreams must be recast each night. Remove curse and similar efforts will have no effect, as the character isn't cursed; he or she has just attracted the attention of a wrathful goddess.
   As soon as the item is returned to the Muse, or the character has devoted him- or herself to the quest or task its possesser was supposed to undertake, Erinyes stops her nightly visits, appearing only once more along side the wronged Muse. The Goddess of Vengeance says she hopes the character has learned a lesson, while the Muse thanks him or her for helping. Any accumulated penalties are removed, and the character enjoys the benefits outlined in the "Summoning a Random Muse" for the Muse the artifact belongs to, as if he or she had summoned that Muse. (Click here for details.)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Daddy Cool Talent Tree

This talent tree is that latest addition to the NUELOW Games d20 System feat and talents based superpowers system. (You can see the basics by clicking here.) It was inspired by the 1976 Boney M song of the same name, "Daddy Cool". We've embedded the song and its original video for your viewing enjoyment, below. (All text in this post is presented under the Open Game License and my be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 Steve Miller.)

The Daddy Cool (or Mama Cool, for female characters) talent tree works well for characters who have emotion manipulation as their main shtick.

Your power is your charisma.
   Essence of Cool: Gain a permanent +2 bonus to all Bluff, Intimidate and Perform skill checks.
   Prerequisite: Any one Minor Power feat.
   Crazy Like a Fool: Gain a spell-like ability that mimics confusion. The character's total number of levels equals the caster level. The character may choose to limit the confusion affect to a single target, imposing a -6 penalty to the Will save to resist. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to 1/2 the character's Charisma bonus (round up).
   Prerequisite: Essence of Cool.
   Dance with Daddy: Gain a spell-like ability that mimics irresistible dance. The character's total number of character levels equals the caster level. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to 1/2 the character's Charisma bonus (round up).
   Prerequisite: Crazy Like a Fool
   Trust in Daddy: Gain a spell-like ability that mimics charm person. The character's total number of levels equals the caster level. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to 1/2 the character's Charisma bonus (round up).
   Prerequisite: Essence of Cool
   Trust in Daddy II: Gain a spell-like ability that mimics charm monster. The character's total number of levels equals the caster level. This ability may be used a number of times per day equal to the character's Charisma bonus.
   Prerequisite: Crazy Like a Fool, Trust in Daddy

(For the record, when we dance here at NUELOW Games, it looks something like Bobby Farrell in this video.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Magic of Tacos!

Some magic items (and an artifact) that every d20 Modern game needs! (Heck, maybe every d20 System game needs these!)

Taco of Healing
Restores 1d6 hit points when consumed. It also nourishes the character for an entire day. (Tacos of healing come in batches of 3, 9, or 12.)

Montezuma's Taco
Appears to be a taco of healing but is actually cursed. When consumed, the character that eats it must roll a successful Fort save (DC18) or be sickened for 1d6+2 days. A successful save means the character is only sickened for half the number of days rolled (round down).
   There is a 2% chance that any taco of healing may is a Montezuma's Taco.

Super Hot Sauce of Courage
Apply to any food item. Consuming the item afterwards requires a Fort save (DC9) and will cause the diner's eyes to water and nose to run, but he or she gains a +1 bonus to DC/AC, Will and Reflex saves for 6 hours.
   Applying the Extra Hot Sauce takes one round. Consuming the food takes 1d3+1 rounds.

Neverending Bag of Tacos
What appears to be a grease-stained paperbag with a logo featuring a smiling, big-toothed cartoon character in a sombrero above the words "Comer Grandes" is a actually a powerful artifact. If examined with methods that reveal magical auras, the Neverending Bag of Tacos radiates a very slight trace of Summoning magic.
   Every 24 hours, bag produces 2d4+2 tacos,although the bag only appears to contain at most two tacos at any given time. When the last taco of the day remains, there is only one in the bag.
   Whenever someone pulls a taco from the bag, it is that person's favorite kind of taco. The number of tacos the bag can provide resets every day at sunrise.

(All text in this post is Open Game Content and may be reproduced in accordance with the terms of the Open Game License. Copyright 2019 NUELOW Games.)

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A new feat for the artistically inclined d20 System character

As with much of what can be found on this blog, this feat is presented with OGL Modern in mind, but it can be used it any d20 System game that has feats. (The classes mentioned in the brackets should consider this feat as an addition to the the list of bonus feats they may choose from at character creation or during level advancement.)

[Charismatic Hero, Dedicated Hero, Bard, Cleric]
   Prerequisite: Wisdom 13 You take artistic expression and merge it with other expressions, transforming it.
   Benefit: +4 bonus to all Perform skills, as well as Crafting skills that involve designing garments, musical instruments, and tools, as well as creating works of art, literature, philosophy, and so on. You also gain a +2 bonus to all Knowledge skill checks.

 The text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 by Steve Miller.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Mystery of Becker's Pond

People are vanishing in the woods near Becker's Pond. Why? How? You and the player characters in your roleplaying game campaign can find out in a scenario inspired by an illustration by Bryan Baugh that you can create based on a randomly generated outline.

How do the Player Characters Become Involved (Roll 1d6)
  1-2. They hear rumors of strange happenings near Becker's Pond.
  3-4. A friend asks them to find a loved one who has disappeared near Becker's Pond.
  5-6. They hear a friend has vanished near Becker's Pond.

How Many Disappearances Once the PC's are Involved? (Roll 1d6)
  1-2. 1d2+1 results off "Who Vanishes First", the proceed to "Who Vanishes Next?".
  3-4. 1d3+2, with "Who Vanishes First" checked once, then "Who Vanishes Next?" once, then the rest on "Who Vanishes First".
  5. Alternate between "Who Vanishes First?" and "Who Vanishes Next?" until a result is duplicated on the "Who Vanishes Next?" table, or the player characters are attacked.
  6. Check "Who Vanishes First?" twice, then roll on "Who Vanishes Next?" until a result is duplicated or the PCs are attacked.

Who Vanishes First? (Roll 1d6)
  1. 1d3+1 skinny dipping teenagers.
  2. 1d2+1 fishermen.
  3. 1d3 hunters.
  4. 1d3+1 bird watchers.
  5. 1d2 couples at Makeout Rock.
  6. 1d2 hikers.

When Do People Disappear? (Roll 1d6)
    1-2. Middle of the night.
    3. Shortly before sunrise.
    4. Shortly after sunset.
    5. During the daytime.
    6. No predictable time. Roll on this table each time a disappearance is to occur in order to determine when the next one happens. Ignore and reroll additional results of "6".

How Long Between Disappearances? (Roll 1d6)
  1-2. 1d6+4 days.
  3-4. 1d6+1 days.
  5. 1d+6 hours.
  6. Roll after each disappearance to determine when the next will happen.

Who Vanishes Next? (Roll 1d6)
  1. The local conspiracy theorist.
  2. The minister's daughter.
  3. The Instragram model.
  4. 1d2 hunters.
  5. 1d4+1 frat boys.
  6. The player characters are attacked, either a single individual or as a group. If they lose the fight, they are among the vanished. (Player characters investigating the pond are the ones attacked. If none are investigating the pond, the smallest group of them that are together are attacked. Roll on "What is Responsible for the Disappearances?" to see what attacks the player characters.)

What Is Responsible for the Disappearances? (Roll 1d6)
  1. A creature that's escaped from the secret lab of a man scientist (use earth elemental stats).
  2. The vengeful spirits of two bullied teens who drowned themselves in Becker's Pond in a suicide pact have returned to exact revenge (use wraith stats)
  3. A cult of devil worshipers (1d6+1 together at any given time--unless their numbers are reduced through combat with the PCs and/or having been arrested; total of 13 cult members).
  4. Space aliens have a secret base underneath the pond. The vanished people are being subjected to hideous experiments.  (Vanished victims are still alive and may be rescued if the PC's enter Hell if a 1 is rolled on a six-sided die. Roll for each victim.)
  5. Pollution in the pond has coalesced into a monster that is oozing from it in search of prey (use water elemental stats).
  6. A gate to Hell has opened in the pond. Victims are being seized by demons and dragged into the underworld. (Vanished victims are still alive and may be rescued if the PC's enter Hell if a 1 is rolled on a six-sided die. Roll for each victim.)

How Can the Disappearances Be Stopped? (Roll 1d6)
  1-2. The evil must be destroyed.
  3-4. The powerful international conspiracy that is truly behind the disappearances must be exposed.
  5. The pond and forest must be cleansed with the magic generated by two Native American artifacts when they are brought together.
  6. Atlantean druids must bless the pond and forest around it. And then the evil must be destroyed.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Bessie Love and the Magical Mystery Chairs

We recently revealed how Bessie Love secretly battled occult forces between starring in movies during the 1920s and 1930s. This time around, we're going to cover something she learned during her cultist-busting career: Hidden, often in plain sight, throughout the world are a surprising number of magical chairs. Some were purposefully constructed and enchanted, others became magically charged by absorbing intense spiritual energies for many years.

Love brought two magic chairs into her own home, one was a gift from a sorceress who was an ally in her fight against evil, the other was seized from a cult leader. The first chair, which stood in the corner of her sitting room, grants the person sitting in it the ability to instantly know what is on up to 100 written pages by just touching them; and the other chair, which she kept in her library, makes the person in it more able to see through lies while being more adept at telling them.

The rest of the text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced according to its terms. Copyright Steve Miller 2019.

MAGICAL MYSTERY CHAIRS (for d20 System Games)
The GM can use the following tables to randomly generate magical chairs. Players can discover the enchantments of the chairs through whatever means are available in the campaign, except for those listed under WHAT CURSE DOES THE CHAIR BESTOW? Any curses should be discovered when they are inflicted.

1-7.  No
9.     Yes. Roll twice on WHAT BENEFIT DOES THE CHAIR GRANT?
10.   Yes. Roll once on WHAT BENEFIT DOES THE CHAR GRANT? and
*The GM can check this table whenever the characters search a room furnished with one or more chairs using methods that can detect magical auras.

1. As a full round action, absorb the information in up to 100 pages
    touched while seated in the chair. The character must be able to
    read the language, even if he or she isn't actually reading the
    text. The book or pages not need to be leafed through. The GM
    may require Knowledge skill checks or Intelligence checks for
    the character to comprehend the information if the text covers
    obscure or advanced subjects. Texts longer than 100 pages may
    be divided up and absorbed at different times, but loose pages
    must be placed in different stacks, and books must be opened
    to the point from which absorption is to take place.
    The chair's power can be used once every 12 hours.
2. +4 to all Knowledge skill checks while seated.
3. +4 to all Craft skill checks while seated.
4. +6 to Bluff skill checks while seated.
5. +6 to Sense Motive skill checks while seated.
6. Detect Poison and Neutralize Poison at 12th-level effectiveness
    while seated in the chair.
7. True Seeing as spell-like ability for 12 minutes once per hour while
    seated. (12th level effectiveness.)
8. The character does not age, require rest or sustenance while seated in the chair.
9. Brings a being back to life that has been dead less than 24 hours.
    The corpse must be relatively intact with no vital parts missing.
    The being is restored to life with fully healed.
10. Roll again on this table, ignoring and re-rolling additional
      rolls of 10. Additionally, roll once on WHAT CURSE DOES

1. -1 to all saving throws.
2. -1 to all attack rolls.
3. -1 to all saving throws and attack rolls.
4. -2 to all skill checks.
5. The sitter's butt goes numb and can only walk with a
    weird waddle. 1/2 movement rate, -4 to all Acrobatics,
    Balance, Climb, Run, and Tumble skill checks.
6. Suffer 1 point of extra damage per hit or damage dice.
7. While seated the character believes he or she telepathically
    "hears" the thoughts of another character in the room.
     The thoughts indicate the character is planning to betray the
     seated character, or is otherwise allied with an enemy of
     the party. The seated character can focus his or
    attention on someone else in the rool and "hear" that
    individual's thoughts as well. They will likewise be
    hostile or threatening. This is just an delusion caused by
    the chair. It ends once the character leaves the chair.
8. While seated, he character believes that he or she can see
     the true demonic form of another random character in
     the room. This is just a delusion created by the chair, and
     the character who appears to be a shapeshifted demon
     is determined randomly each time someone sits in
     the chair
     The character who sat in the chair believes he or she has gained
     that advantage.
10. Roll two more times on this table, ignoring additional
      rolls of 10.
*Unless otherwise noted, all curses are permanent until the character who sat in the chair is subjected to a Remove Curse, cast at a 12-level or better effectiveness.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Feats for the Awakened (Blessings in Disguise: Part Two)

This post continues the rules for playing characters whose souls contain the remains of dead angels. You can read Part One here. (All text in this post is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 Steve Miller.)

Awakened characters may choose from the following feats whenever they gain feats from level advancement, as a way of modeling their increasing ability to tap into the angelic energies that reside within them. They may also choose to substitute any bonus feats earned with ones from this section. They must still meet all pre-requisites before choosing a feat.

Alertness, Animal Affinity, Attentive, Blind Fight, Builder, Calm Animals, Confident, Faithful, Focused, Foresight, Fortune Telling, Great Fortitude, Guide, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Naughty or Nice, Nimble, Stealthy, Toughness, True Love,

These feats are available only to Awakened characters who meet the prerequisites. It may be chosen under any circumstance that the character selects a feat.

Divine Magic [Awakened]
You channel the divine spark in your soul into spells.
   Prerequisite: Awakened, Wisdom 12
   Benefit: The character may, at will, cast a number of 0-level Acolyte spells equal to his or her Wisdom bonus per day. The caster level is equal to the character's total level. No material components are needed.
   The character also gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws made to resist divine magic and divine spell-like effects.

Enhanced Divine Magic [Awakened]
You can draw more effectively on the divine energy to create more powerful effects.
   Prerequsite: Divine Magic feat
   Benefit: The character may, at will, cast a number of 1st- and 2nd-level Acolyte spells equal to his or her Wisdom bonus per day. The caster level is equal to the character's total level. No material components are needed.

Improved Divine Magic [Awakened]
You are able to create minor miracles.
   Prerequisite: Enhanced Divine Magic feat, Wisdom 14
   Benefit: The character may, at will, cast a number of 3rd- 4th-, and 5th-level Acolyte spells equal to his or her Wisdom bonus per day. The caster level is equal to the character's total level. No material components are needed.

Sense Awakened [Awakened]
You can sense when you are near another Awakened.
    Prerequisite: Awakened trait
   Benefit: When you are within 60 feet of another Awakened, the GM tells you you feel 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 (DC15), you can identify the source of your unease--another Awakened. If the Awakened is out of your line of sight, you know exactly where he or she is. (The sense of unease ends as soon as you recognise the other Awakened.)
    The sense of unease also ends if the Spot check reveals some other threat or mystery that draws your attention.
    Note: GMs may or may not be calling your attention to another Awakened. Sometimes, it's something entirely different that's going on. Whichever is the case, the sense that something is wrong is dispelled once your attention is caught by something in the area.

Illo by Bonksn

Sense Outsider [Awakened]
 Beings from planes beyond those inhabited by mortals venture into it with some regularity, usually disguised in mortal form. You can sense when you are near such creatures.
    Prerequisite: Awakened trait
   Benefit: When you are within 15 feet and line-of-sight of an extra-planar being that is shapeshifted into a less conspicuous form, you can see an aura of shifting colors around its body. By taking a full round action to study the creature and the GM rolling a successful Spot skill check (DC12), you are able to tell if the being is from one of the Upper, Lower, or Elemental Planes of existence. You are also able to spot shapeshifted beings native to the Realm of Fairies, including the Witchkind, although with such beings, you will not be able to discern what plane they are from.

Wings of an Angels [Awakened]
Mystic wings will slow your fall, preventing you from harm to some extent.
   Prerequisite: Awakened, Divine Magic feat
   Benefit: After the first 20 feet of free-fall, incorporeal, translucent wings appear on the character's back, and his or her fall is slowed. Falling damage is reduced by half when the character hits the ground (minimum damage 1 point).

More to come--such as Talents--in Part Three. (Meanwhile, if you found this content interesting and useful, consider getting one or more of our actual products at DriveThruRPG. It will encourage to make more.)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Awakened: Blessings in Disguise (Part One)

This is the first post in a series that gives rules for playing characters whose souls are part angel, the Awakened. This one lays part of the groundwork, and the next posts will elaborate on the concept with more details on the types of angels, as well as feats and talents that further define the Awakened and their supernatural powers.
   All text in this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 by Steve Miller.

By Steve Miller
The Awakened is a mortal being who carries within them a literal spark of the Divine.
   The devestation suffered among the Heavenly Host was severe, as the forces loyal to God did battle with those who had joined Satan in rebellion. Hundreds of angels fell in battle, but since immortal beings cannot truly die, the physical form of a slain angel shattered and its spiritual essense dispersed into the mortal realm where fragments of angelic essense merged with the souls the beings that existed there.
   Souls so infused with angelic essense are mostly like any others: They go through many, many lives, some of which are unremarkable except in small ways, others which change the course of history or reshape the way humans perceive the world and other beings around them, but that part of them which originated in Heaven remains dormant.
   But then, through chance or Divine Providence, an event shocks the slumbering spark into wakefulness... and the mortal being finds him- or herself able to call upon supernatural abilities usually reserved only for the servants of gods. How powerful the mortal becomes, and whether these gifts become a blessing or a curse to the world is entirely up to the individual... because whether it was Fate or Grand Design that brought the hidden to the fore, mortals still possess the great gift of Free Will. Nonetheless, once Awakened, the being's life will be changed, because others will be drawn to the power.

Most people live their whole lives with the angelic part of their soul remaining dormant. There are only three ways it becomes activated:
   * Fail a saving throw while wearing the Angel's Face and Left Hand of God
   * Be reduced to -5 or fewer hit points
   * Be subjected to mind-effecting magic or mind-effecting spell-like effect from an Outsider
   (With the GM's permission, any of these events can have taken place before play starts and be part of the character's backstory.)

   Once Awakened, the player rolls randomly on the following table to see what type of angelic remnant the character now gains power from. This dictates the benefit gained.

1d10    Angelic Remnant in Character's Soul
1          Astral Deva: +1 magical bonus to all melee attack and damage rolls.
2          Cherub: All Knowledge skills become permanent class skills.
            If Cherub is rolled  twice, the character gains the Educated feat
            as a bonus.)
3          Planetar: Gain detect deceit as a spell-like ability. It may be used
            a number of times per day equal to the character's Wisdom bonus.
4          Potestatim: Gain cure light wounds and cause light wounds as
            spell-like abilities, with the caster effectiveness equal to the
            character's level.
5          Seraphim: Gain protection from evil as a spell-like ability, with the
            caster effectiveness equal to the character's level. It may be used a
            number of times per day equal to the character's Wisdom bonus.
6          Solar: Gain a +1 magical bonus to all ranged attack and damage
7         Thronas: Gain a +2 bonus to all Bluff and Sense Motive skill checks.
8         Virtues: All Perform skills become permanent class skills.
           If Virtues is rolled twice, the character gains the Creative feat
           as a bonus, as well as a +2 bonus to all Bluff skill checks.
9         Zashmahls: All Craft skills become permanent class skills.
           If Zashmahls is rolled twice, the character gains the Creative feat
           as a bonus.
10       Roll two more times on this table, ignoring and rerolling results of 10.
           The character's soul contains the remnants of two angels, and the
           character gains both benefits. Unless otherwise is noted, if the same
           result is rolled twice, the indicated bonus is doubled.
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Friday, April 5, 2019

The Angel's Face and the Left Hand of God

The Angel's Face and the Left Hand of God are a pair of artifacts of unknown origin. They have appeared and disappeared throughout history, often facilitating the rise of a powerful religious figure or causing his or her downfall. Their first known appearance on Earth was in Ancient Egypt.
   Apart, the items appear to be faintly enchanted with some kind of preservative magic. When brought together, they begin to radiate stronger magic, but their true powers are only revealed when worn together by a single user. (The artifacts must be worn by the same user, at the same time, to function.)

This smooth, silvery mask is of a face with cherubic features, and it's hard to tell if it's supposed to resemble and male or female. It radiates faint abjuration magic if it examined with means designed to reveal enchantments.
   If a human or demihuman character who isn't an Immortal, Outsider or Undead holds it up to their face, the mask immediately attaches itself. It can only be removed if the character remains absolutely calm and takes no actions for six rounds other than to clear their minds of all thoughts. One the seventh round, the character must roll a successful Will Save (DC22). If successful, the mas falls off. The only other reason the mask detaches itself is upon the death of the character.
   If an Immortal, Outsider, or Undead tries to use the Angel's Face, the mask immediately becomes inert and seemingly non-magical for one month.

Benefits and Powers Gained While Wearing the Angel's Face:
   * Saving Throws of a 20th level Cleric, Priest, or Dedicated Hero (or similar class in use in the campaign). If the character's regular saving throws are greater, he or she uses them instead.
   * True Seeing as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to the character's Wisdom bonus.
   * +2 bonus to all rolls made to see through illusions (when the True Seeing ability isn't being used).
   * +4 bonus to all saving throws made to resist mind-effecting magic.
Drawbacks to Wearing the Angel's Face:
   *The mouth on the Angel's Face has an opening so small that the wearer is only able to consume liquids through a straw.
   *Whenever the True Seeing spell-like ability is invoked, the GM secretly rolls percentile dice to see if the character becomes a vessel for a god. If 001 is rolled, the GM rolls a d10 against the following table to see what god has taken hold of the character's mortal form.

   1. Anubis        2. Athena
   3. Baal            4. Hades
   5. Isis              6. Odin
   7. Set               8. Shiva
   9. Thor          10. Zeus

The god remains in control of the character for 1d10+10 hours, or until the god willingly departs or the character's body is destroyed. During this time, the god can wield any and all powers the GM and the rules-set believes are fitting. The GM should consider telling the player what the god's agenda is and jointly run the character with him or her during this time of possession, allowing the player to make most decisions while the GM primarily adjudicates to what level the god uses his or her powers in the mortal realm.
   When the god leaves the character's body, the character must roll a successful Fortitude save (DC 18) or be reduced to 1 hit point and falls into a coma that lasts 1d6+1 hours. Whether the save is successful or not, the mask falls from the character's face and remains inert and seeming non-magical for one month.

This is a fingerless, left-hand leather glove with straps that fasten around the wearer's wrist, with metal studs on each knuckle. It radiates faint alteration and divine magic if it examined with means designed to reveal enchantments.

Benefits and Powers Gained While Wearing the Left Hand of God:
   * +2 to unarmed attacks
   * +4 divine damage inflicted with each successful unarmed strike (with left-hand only, if a two-handed fighting style is used).
   * When touching a character with the gloved left hand, restore up to 3d6+4 hit points. Unwilling targets may roll Will saves to resist (DC12). This is a full-round action, and the power may be used a number of times per day equal to the wearer's Wisdom bonus.
   * When touching a character with the gloved left hand, inflict 1d6+6 hit points of divine damage. The target receives a Fortitude save (DC18) and if it is successful, the target only suffers half damage. If used in combat, the wearer must roll a successful touch attack. This is a full round action, and the power may be used a number of times per day equal to the wearer's Wisdom bonus.

Drawbacks to Wearing the Left Hand of God
   * The wearer must roll a Fortitude save (DC19) when using the gloves touch powers, whether to heal or harm. If the saving throw fails, the character loses 1d3+1 hit points and is briefly disoriented and is unable to act on the following round.

The photo illustrating this post is of actress Rebecca Rose. It's a still from The Jester 2, and it has nothing to do with the magic items described in the post other than being the source of inspiration for them.

All text in this post is presented under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 Steve Miller.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

d20 System Feats for the Believer!

Your belief in a higher power is unshakable... and it may even be stronger than the cleric who leads the gathering of faithful you worship with. You do not wear the cloth, because you have been called to serve in a different way. But you know that your god watches over you and smiles upon your deeds. You know, because you have experienced miracles and you know that your faith has seen you through situations where non-believers would have perished.

Here are a couple of d20 System feats for characters who have strong faith in higher powers, but who are not priests, clerics, or some other religious leader. In fact, these feats are specifically not for classes that have access to divine spells. Instead, they are for the lay-person.
   Like most of the material we create for d20 System games, d20 Modern and compatible games is premiere in our minds, but this material is easily adapted to StarFinder and any other game that uses the d20 System as its core engine.
   The rest of this post is released under the Open Game License and may be reproduced in accordance with its terms. Copyright 2019 Steve Miller.

FAITHFUL [General, Dedicated Hero]
Sometimes, your faith in greater powers is rewarded.
   Prerequisite: Intelligence 11, Wisdom 13
   Benefit: State a religion your character believes in, firmly. When something goes terribly wrong--such as failing a crucial skill check, fail a life-or-death saving throw (and circumstances are such that you know it), or similar event--your character's deeply held faith may cause the greater powers in the universe to take notice and intervene on your behalf. Invoke this feat immediately after the failed roll. You may reroll it with a +4 bonus. If the second roll succeeds, something miraculous happens that allows the character to recover from the failure.
   This feat may be used a number of times equal to the character's Wisdom bonus each game session.
   Special: Clerics and other characters who gain spells from supernatural beings may not select this feat; the greater powers in the universe already give them plenty in return for their faith. If a character with this feat gains the ability to cast divine spells or gains wizard spells through deals with powerful beings, all benefits from this feat are lost

MARTYR [General, Dedicated Hero]
You suffer for your faith, knowing that you will be rewarded.
   Prerequisite: Faithful
   Benefit: As your character looses hit points from damage suffered while fighting for (or otherwise working toward) a cause he or she believes in, extra reserves of energy born from the deeply held knowledge that you are sacrificing for a greater cause.
   The benefits from this feat depend on how many hit points the character has lost. The benefits to do stack; the replace one another as the character is injured.
   Down Between 10% and 25% of full hit point total: +1 bonus to all saving throws and skill checks.
   Down Between 25%  and 50% of full hit point total: +2 bonus to all attack rolls and saving throws.
   Down Between 50% and 75% of full hit point total: +4 bonus to all saving throws and AC/DR.
   Down Between 75% and 100%: +4 bonus to all saving throws, regain 2d6 hit points for each successful saving throw rolled.
   Negative Hit Points, Between -1 and -10: Roll a Fortitude saving throw. If successful, regain 2d6 hit points. If the character's hit point total is still a negative number, the character is unconcious but stable.
   Negative Hit Points, Below -10: The character finds him- or herself engulfed in a bright light. He or she is given the choice to move onto the reward for dying in the service of the deeply held convictions and beliefs, or remain in the mortal realm of pain and suffering, as a disembodied spirit but with the ability to fight on. If the character rejects the reward, he or she immediately gains the Disembodied template.

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Secret Life of Bessie Love

In 1915, 17-year-old Juanita Horton's family was struggling to make ends meet, so her mother told her to go down to Biograph Studios to see if they'd give her work as an actress. Producer and director D.W. Griffith seized on her good looks and talent, and after a few bit parts, Juanita was on her way to stardom under the stagename Bessie Love.

But unbeknowst to the adoring movie-going public, Bessie Love was far more than just another Hollywood star... she was also the mysterious masked adventuress known as the Love Bug!

In the very early morning of September 3 of 1924, Bessie Love was awakened by frantic knocking at her door. Outside, in the swirling fog, was an elderly woman with a small suitcase. She thrust the case at Bessie and said, "You have been chosen."
   Before Bessie could react, the woman retreated into the fog and vanished. The confused actress took the suitcase into the sitting room and opened it. Inside was a strange bejeweled costume consisting of a mask, a curious-looking headdress, a backless leotard, and matching shoes. As she touched the mask, her mind was filled with images of and facts about an ancient order of mystics locked in an eternal battle with a demonic cult bent on bringing about literal Hell on Earth. The "costume" was in truth ancient ceremonial garb and mystically powered armor that assisted the wearer in her fight against demons... and Bessie had been chosen to carry on the fight. The vision had told her all she needed to know, as well as the powers of the outfit... and from that day forward, she split her time between acting and combatting mystical evils where she found them throughout Southern California.
   For the next year-and-a-half, newspapers carried reports of a mystery woman who fought crime and brought secret cults to light by defeating them. After rescuing children that had been slated for sacrifice to a dark god on February 14, 1926, she encountered a newspaper reporter who wanted to know her name. "Call me the Love Bug," was her swift, unthinking reply. The name stuck.
   As the 1930s dawned, Bessie found it increasingly difficult to balance her life as a Hollywood star with that of a cult-busting mystery woman. She eventually committed herself full-time to the battle against evil and left her glamorous life as an actress behind.

   By the mid-1930s, Bessie had relocated to England in order to learn more about the original creators of her magical gear and to stem the rising demonic tides at their source. Over the next decade, she faced evil mystics all over Europe and she found allies in the secret magical order The Daughters of Burdick. She still appeared in the occasional movie, but more often than not, her accepting roles was to bring her into the orbit of suspected cultists or other evil-minded people.
   In 1950, at the age of 52, Bessie decided she was getting to old for the physical demands of life as the Love Bug. She began searching for a replacement, a young woman to whom she could give the armor as it had once been given to her. Once that had been accomplished, she returned to acting full time.

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   The Love Bug's powers are derived entirely from her mystical armor, which radiates faint magic of an indeterminant type if such is detected for. The entire outfit must be worn for any of the powers to function. It is described below in terms of the d20 System roleplaying game rules.
   The Jewel-lined Domino Mask: This is a black mask, the edges of which are lined with tiny diamonds. It only covers the area around the wearer's eyes. Once per day, as a standard action, the wearer can invoke the spell-like ability of true seeing. The effect is just like the spell of the same name, as if cast by a 12th-level caster, but with a duration equal to twice the wearer's Wisdom bonus in minutes.
   The Bejeweled Headdress: Two jewel-encrusted insect-like anttenae rise from this tight-fitting headcover. It provides the wearer with a +4 bonus to all saving throws to resist mind-affecting magic and spell-like effects. In addition, once per day, as a standard action, the wearer can invoke the spell-like ability of telepathy. This ability functions as if cast by a 12th-level caster, but with a duration equal to twice the wearer's Wisdom bonus in minutes.
   The Bejewled Leotard: The jewels covering this tight-fitting garment are arranged in the patterns of Atlantean sigils of protection. It grants the wearer a +2 bonus to AC/DR, as well as a +2 bonus to Fortitude and Reflex saving throws. These bonuses stack with other similar bonuses.
   The Bejeweled Shoes: The wearer's base movement rate is increased by 10. The shoes also provide a +4 bonus to all movement and balance-related skill checks.
   As previously mentioned, for any of the powers to function, all four pieces of the set must be worn. If the wearer enters an area where magic is suppressed or otherwise doesn't usually work, the powers don't function, but they return immediately upon leaving that area. If dispel magic is cast at the wearer, she must make a successful saving throw (DC12), or the armor ceases to function for a number of minutes equal to the level of the person who cast dispel magic.
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