Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fantasy Business Name Generator

This is a random name generator for businesses that could be found in a D&D world. It's based on tables from the article, By Any Other Name (Part One) Sages, Shops, and Smithies by Owen K.C. Stephens, found in Dragon magazine Annual #5.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

WFRP - One Roll Combat

Combat in WFRP uses a fairly easy system, but the number of die rolls and table look-ups can get rather tedious at times. For a successful hit there are 2 die rolls (roll to hit, roll damage) and you have to look up the hit location on a table. That's not so bad, but for a critical hit there are 3 rolls and 3 tables to consult. Add in the math necessary for figuring actual damage by subtracting the target's toughness and armor and it all gets a bit much to handle for 6 pcs and 8 beastmen late at night.

Yeah, I know its still way simpler than <insert complicated game here>, but I'm stupid and I like simple. So here's what I came up with- combat that is resolved with 1 die roll and 2 tables max. And one table is so simple that its easily memorized. Here's how-

Step 1: Roll <= WS to hit target on d100. (as per normal rules)

Example- a pc with a WS of 35 rolls a 24 on a d100 and hits.

Step 2: Find location of hit by comparing the second digit of the to-hit roll with the table below-

0 - arm
1 - arm
2 - arm
3 - leg
4 - leg
5 - body
6 - body
7 - body
8 - body
9 - head

Example- the to-hit roll was 24. The second digit is 4, so the pc hits his target in the leg. (which leg is up to the gm or random roll)

Step 3: Damage = (sum of to-hit roll digits + weapon damage) - (target toughness + armor on location). Note: When adding the digits of the to-hit roll, a 0 is always treated as 0 - not 10.

Example- the pc has a SB of 3 and a hand weapon. The target has a TB of 3 and leather jack (1 armor on arms and body). The to-hit roll was 24. Damage done is 2 + 4(add the to-hit roll digits) + 3(SB) = 9. 9 - 3(TB) - 0(no armor on the legs) = 6 total damage.

Step 4: If the damage results in a Critical, the critical level = damage - target's remaining W. Consult the Critical Hit table for effect.

Example- the target only has 2W left and takes 6 damage to the leg. 6 - 2 results in a level 4 critical to the leg.

Rule changes-
Ulric's Fury does not happen with this system. All Impact weapons get +2 to damage instead of getting the better roll of an extra d10.

There are two bonuses of using this system besides being easier and faster. First off, damage potential increases with skill. The average damage done with a WS of 35 is 5.6, but a WS of 60 pushes the average damage up to 7. Any action that increases your WS (Aim, Charge, attacking an unaware target, etc..) will also increase your average damage.

The second bonus is that hit location is linked to the amount of damage done. Now getting hit in the head always means taking a lot of damage which seems a lot more realistic than the system in the rules. No more hitting a goblin repeatedly in the head with your battleaxe only to give it a headache.

I've run this system in a couple of game sessions and it has worked pretty well. If you give it a try with your group, let me know how it turned out.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cadaver Dog

Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 2d12 (13 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 14 (+2 Dex, +2 natural), touch 12, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+3
Attack: Bite +3 melee (1d6+3 plus paralysis)
Full Attack: Bite +3 melee (1d6+3 plus paralysis)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Paralysis, trip
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., scent, undead traits
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +4
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 15, Con -, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6
Skills: Jump +6, Listen +4, Spot +3, Survival +1*
Feats: Track
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or pack (3-8)
Challenge Rating: 1
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always chaotic evil
Advancement: 3 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment: -

Large, gaunt dogs with green glowing eyes.

Cadaver dogs are created whenever wild dogs scavenge on the dead bodies of evil beings. They slowly become undead beings with a hunger for decaying flesh. Because of this, they are usually found at the sites of recent battles and graveyards.


Normally cadaver dogs are content with scavenging, but if they outnumber potential live prey or if they smell fresh wounds they will attack. When attacking they will target either the smallest or the most wounded. They will attack this target with as many of the pack as they can with the remainder holding off any other opponents.

Paralysis (Ex): Those hit by a cadaver dog's bite attack must succeed on a DC 12 Fortitude save or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds. Elves have immunity to this paralysis. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Trip (Ex): A cadaver dog that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent (+1 check modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the cadaver dog.

Skills: Cadaver dogs have a +4 racial bonus on Jump checks. *Cadaver dogs have a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Creating a new monster in D&D the easy way

Creating a new monster for D&D can be rather complicated and time consuming. Building one from scratch means a lot of chart lookups and quite a bit of number crunching. While it can be fun to do, what if you either don't want to or don't have time to do all the work yourself? The easiest solution is to take the stats for a standard creature and just make a few tweaks. Viola, a new monster to trouble your players is born!

I created the creature below to add to the free adventure module The Burning Plague. That adventure features a group of kobolds with their dire weasel pets. Now back when kobolds used to be little dog men maybe them having giant weasels as pets made sense. In 3rd edition, however, kobolds are little dragon men. I just can't picture them befriending mammals anymore. What they really need is a giant lizard to be their pet.

The easiest way to do this was to simply change the dire weasel into a lizard. I just change the name and the description. I dropped the weasel's low light vision and scent abilities and gave it darkvision instead. Now this is a pet that a kobold could love! And its perfectly balanced for play and ready to drop into any module as a replacement for the dire weasel.

Blood Skink

Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 3d8 (13 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6+3)
Full Attack: Bite +6 melee (1d6+3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Attach, blood drain
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft.
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +4
Abilities: Str 14, Dex 19, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 11
Skills: Hide +8, Listen +3, Move Silently +8, Spot +5
Feats: Alertness, Stealthy, Weapon Finesse
Environment: Underground
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Medium); 7-9 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: -

A man-sized lizard that has a round, sucker-like mouth on its jawless head.

Blood skinks are common predators found in most of the underdark. As they don't seem to like the taste of kobold blood and are fairly intelligent for reptiles, kobolds have been able to train them for use as guard animals. Because of this, blood skinks can often be found in and around kobold lairs.

Blood skinks grow to be up to 10 feet long and can reach a weight of 700 pounds.


Blood skinks ambush their prey in the dark. If they are able to attach to their prey, they will drain its blood until it is dead.

Attach (Ex): A blood skink that hits with its bite attack latches onto the opponent's body with its powerful sucker mouth. An attached blood skink loses its Dexterity bonus to AC and thus has an AC of 12. An attached blood skink can be struck with a weapon or grappled itself. To remove an attached blood skink through grappling, the opponent must achieve a pin against the creature.

Blood Drain (Ex): A blood skink drains blood for 1d4 points of Constitution damage each round it remains attached.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Evolution of the Fighter in D&D - Take 2

Here's a new look at the how the Fighter in D&D has changed over the years. I took the same fighters from my first experiment and created a new test for them. This time instead of seeing how many goblins they can kill before dying, I test to see how dangerous is it for him to fight just one goblin (or in the case of 4e - four goblins minions at once).

The test combats are pretty simple. First, I roll for initiative to see who goes first. Then the fighter and his goblin opponent take turns trying to hit each other. The first one taken to zero hit points is the loser. To get a good average result, the tests for each edition are run 10,000 times. The total number of fighter deaths divided by the number of tests gives the percent chance of the fighter dying in a combat with a goblin. I also graphed out the average length of combat per edition as that was also of interest to me. Here are the results-
0e - the almost complete lack of stat bonuses coupled with low hit points lead to a really dangerous game. You better hire some meatshields to help you.
Basic - even with rolling 3d6 for stats, it's much easier to get vital stat bonuses in Basic than in any other pre-3e version of D&D. This brings the death rate down quite a bit.
AD&D 1e - unless you are using greatly inflated stats, you're not going to see much in the way of stat modifiers and that one extra hit point from the d10 hit die isn't that much of a boost.
AD&D 2e - here's the big drop in fatality from previous editions. Weapon specialization is the big reason. +1 to hit, +2 to damage with 3 attacks every 2 rounds gives a big boost to fighter power. Of course, late AD&D 1e had these options too with the publishing of Unearthed Arcana.
D&D 3e - the fighter (albeit one that is optimized for this fight) is almost invulnerable now. It's very hard for the goblin to hit the fighter and almost impossible to crit him. Of course, the goblin still has a good chance to weaken him for the next encounter though.
D&D 4e - two different fights were done for the 4e fighter. First he fights the goblin warrior. He starts off with an encounter power that does an extra W in damage. After that he just attacks with his best at will attack. He also uses an action point to use his Healing Surge. The second type of fight is with 4 goblin cutter minions at the same time. This time the fighter uses his Cleave attack each round.