Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Triple Threat - Wendigo




Wendigo
Wendigo are terrifying shapeshifters who were once human, but through accident or choice ate human flesh. Over time the more they ate the more they craved until eventually, they became inhuman creatures who only look like human beings – but only on the outside. Wendigo tend to travel alone or in pairs ­– more rarely they’ll travel in packs, but only if a Windwalker is leading them (a avatar of the northern spirit by the same name which curses them for eating human flesh even as it embraces them). Windwalkers can turn normal folk who have never tasted human flesh by merely biting them at which point they will suffer from Wendigo Sickness.

Any Campaign Setting…
Beast-Form
ST: 25             HP: 25             Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 10           Move: 11
IQ: 10             Per: 16            Weight: 180 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 16             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 7 (Tough Skin)

Bite (14): 2d+3 cutting. Reach C.
Claws (14): 2d+4 impaling. Reach C.
Improvised Weapon (7): Based on Damage 2d+2/5d-1.

Traits: As human form, plus Appearance (Monstrous); Bad Smell; Bestial; Super Jump 2; Supernatural Features (Gaunt, Glowing Eyes; Long Tongue; Malformed Feet); Temperature Tolerance 8 (Cold); Terrain Adaptation (Snow); Terror (Sound; -3 to Fright Checks); and Social Stigma (Monster).
Skills: As human form, but increase Survival (Arctic) and Tracking to 20.
Notes: As human form.

Human-Form
ST: 20             HP: 20             Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 10           Move: 11
IQ: 10             Per: 14            Weight: 180 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 16             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 7 (Tough Skin)

Punch (14): 2d+1 crushing. Reach C.
Improvised Weapon (7): Based on Damage 2d-1/3d+2.

Traits: Alternate Form (Beastly Form; Active Change; Reduced Time 1); Combat Reflexes; Callous; Dependency (Human Flesh; Daily; Aging; Substitution, Animal Flesh); Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell (Emotion Sense); Fearlessnesses 5; Gluttony (12); Hard to Kill 2; Hard to Subdue 2; High Pain Threshold; Increased Consumption 1; Mimicry; Odious Racial Habit (Eats Human Beings); Overconfidence (12); Penetrating Voice; Regeneration (Regular or Fast*); Regrowth; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+8); Silence 2 (Dynamic); Smells faintly of raw meat; Supernatural Durability (Fire; Not immune to pain); Uncontrollable Appetite (12) (Human Flesh);  Vulnerability (Cutting Attacks to the Neck x2); Vulnerability (Fire x2).
Skills: Brawling-14; Stealth-18†; Survival (Arctic)-14; Tracking-18‡; other skills as the GM deems appropriate.
Notes: Taboo Trait: Fat, Overweight, or Very Fat. If the GM is using Intrinsic Fright Check from GURPS Horror (p. 139), wendigo have a modifier of -4 in beast-form and 0 in their human form (but only if they reveal they aren’t human).
* This assumes that the wendigo must eat at least 10 pounds of meat per day. They can live off of animal flesh; make a HT roll, success means you can eat that particular type of meat; failure means you lose one point of HT; critical failure results in retching (p. B429). If he eats twice this amount, his Regeneration temporarily kicks into overdrive. This is priced as a alternate ability of Regeneration (Regular) and is essentially: Regeneration (Fast; Trigger, excess human flesh, -30%) [7]. This does not apply to wendigo who eat only animal flesh.
† Includes +4 bonus from Silence.

‡ Includes +4 bonus from Discriminatory Smell.


For Dungeon Fantasy…
Beast-Form
ST: 25             HP: 25             Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 10           Move: 11
IQ: 10             Per: 16            Weight: 180 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 16             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 7 (Tough Skin)

Bite (14): 2d+3 cutting. Reach C.
Claws (14): 2d+4 impaling. Reach C.
Improvised Weapon (7): Based on Damage 2d+2/5d-1.

Traits: As human form, plus Appearance (Monstrous); Bad Smell; Bestial; Super Jump 2; Supernatural Features (Gaunt, Glowing Eyes; Long Tongue; Malformed Feet); Temperature Tolerance 8 (Cold); Terrain Adaptation (Snow); Terror (Sound; -3 to Fright Checks); and Social Stigma (Monster).
Skills: As human form, but increase Survival (Arctic) and Tracking to 20.
Notes: As human form.

Human-Form
ST: 20             HP: 20             Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 10           Move: 11
IQ: 10             Per: 14            Weight: 180 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 16             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 7 (Tough Skin)

Punch (14): 2d+1 crushing. Reach C.
Improvised Weapon (7): Based on Damage 2d-1/3d+2.

Traits: Alternate Form (Beastly Form; Active Change; Reduced Time 1); Combat Reflexes; Callous; Dependency (Human Flesh; Daily; Aging; Substitution, Animal Flesh); Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell (Emotion Sense); Fearlessnesses 5; Gluttony (12); Hard to Kill 2; Hard to Subdue 2; High Pain Threshold; Increased Consumption 1; Mimicry; Odious Racial Habit (Eats Human Beings); Overconfidence (12); Penetrating Voice; Regeneration (Regular or Fast*); Regrowth; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+8); Silence 2 (Dynamic); Smells faintly of raw meat; Supernatural Durability (Fire; Not immune to pain); Uncontrollable Appetite (12) (Human Flesh);  Vulnerability (Cutting Attacks to the Neck x2); Vulnerability (Fire x2).
Skills: Brawling-14; Stealth-18†; Survival (Arctic)-14; Tracking-18‡; other skills as the GM deems appropriate.
Classification: Mundane.
Notes: Taboo Trait: Fat, Overweight, or Very Fat.
* This assumes that the wendigo must eat at least 10 pounds of meat per day. They can live off of animal flesh; make a HT roll, success means you can eat that particular type of meat; failure means you lose one point of HT; critical failure results in retching (p. B429). If he eats twice this amount, his Regeneration temporarily kicks into overdrive. This is priced as a alternate ability of Regeneration (Regular) and is essentially: Regeneration (Fast; Trigger, excess human flesh, -30%) [7]. This does not apply to wendigo who eat only animal flesh.
† Includes +4 bonus from Silence.
‡ Includes +4 bonus from Discriminatory Smell.


For Monster Hunters…
Beast-Form
ST: 25             HP: 25             Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 10           Move: 11
IQ: 10             Per: 16            Weight: 180 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 16             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 7 (Tough Skin)

Fright Check: -4

Bite (14): 2d+3 cutting. Reach C.
Claws (14): 2d+4 impaling. Reach C.
Improvised Weapon (7): Based on Damage 2d+2/5d-1.

Traits: As human form, plus Appearance (Monstrous); Bad Smell; Bestial; Super Jump 2; Supernatural Features (Gaunt, Glowing Eyes; Long Tongue; Malformed Feet); Temperature Tolerance 8 (Cold); Terrain Adaptation (Snow); Terror (Sound; -3 to Fright Checks); and Social Stigma (Monster).
Skills: As human form, but increase Survival (Arctic) and Tracking to 20.
Notes: As human form.

Human-Form
ST: 20             HP: 20             Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 10           Move: 11
IQ: 10             Per: 14            Weight: 180 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 16             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 7 (Tough Skin)

Fright Check: 0

Punch (14): 2d+1 crushing. Reach C.
Improvised Weapon (7): Based on Damage 2d-1/3d+2.

Traits: Alternate Form (Beastly Form; Active Change; Reduced Time 1); Combat Reflexes; Callous; Dependency (Human Flesh; Daily; Aging; Substitution, Animal Flesh); Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell (Emotion Sense); Fearlessnesses 5; Gluttony (12); Hard to Kill 2; Hard to Subdue 2; High Pain Threshold; Increased Consumption 1; Mimicry; Odious Racial Habit (Eats Human Beings); Overconfidence (12); Penetrating Voice; Regeneration (Regular or Fast*); Regrowth; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+8); Silence 2 (Dynamic); Smells faintly of raw meat; Supernatural Durability (Fire; Not immune to pain); Uncontrollable Appetite (12) (Human Flesh);  Vulnerability (Cutting Attacks to the Neck x2); Vulnerability (Fire x2).
Skills: Brawling-14; Stealth-18†; Survival (Arctic)-14; Tracking-18‡; other skills as the GM deems appropriate.
Notes: Taboo Trait: Fat, Overweight, or Very Fat. Use the skills listed under Lycanthropes in the Know Thy Enemy box in Monster Hunters 1 (p. 16). One wendigo is a fair fight for one champion with access to burning attacks – otherwise two to three champions is without them..
* This assumes that the wendigo must eat at least 10 pounds of meat per day. They can live off of animal flesh; make a HT roll, success means you can eat that particular type of meat; failure means you lose one point of HT; critical failure results in retching (p. B429). If he eats twice this amount, his Regeneration temporarily kicks into overdrive. This is priced as a alternate ability of Regeneration (Regular) and is essentially: Regeneration (Fast; Trigger, excess human flesh, -30%) [7]. This does not apply to wendigo who eat only animal flesh.
† Includes +4 bonus from Silence.
‡ Includes +4 bonus from Discriminatory Smell.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book Review: GURPS Power-Ups 7: Wildcard Skills

Gurps_power_ups_7_wildcard_skills_1000

You ever want something and didn't realize you wanted it till you saw it? That's what GURPS Power-Ups 7: Wildcard Skills  was for me. I use wildcard skills in my campaigns all the time - my players love them and I love them because it cuts down on skill bloat. GURPs Monster Hunters 1: Champions changed the playing field even more by offering hyper-competency and suddenly wildcard skills were even more attractive. This book does it again, making wildcard skills scalable with the campaign. It even offers new methods to create them based on templates or dramatic rolls (e.g., Big Damn Hero! or Academic!). It's mostly a book for a GM or rules-tinkering players, but with a fairly exhaustive list in the back of every wildcard skill printed to date (though, alas, no new ones). It's even got one of mine (Fist! from Pyramid #3/31: Monster Hunters). It also has a idea I'm very sure I spoke to PK about for my own campaigns (Psionic Wildcard Skills) that he might have told Kromm about or maybe Kromm came up with it on his own - either way it's cool to see it imprint. The rules for making new wildcard skills are just outright amazing and make a GMs job super easy. Overall, it gets 5 out of 5 pennies despite its lack of new wildcard skills - it is that good.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Carpe Blogiem: Adventures Wanted?



So, I'm thinking about putting out adventures for ‪#‎GURPS‬ on my Patreon page. I'd probably use specific lines like Dungeon Fantasy, Monster Hunters, or Action; but I'd do general ones too. Say, a new adventure once every three or four months for Patrons at a specific pay level. Would folks be interested in that? I hear often that GURPS doesn't have enough adventures (and that's true), but I could take this avenue and give folks something they seem to want. The material would be entirely unofficial...but it'd be written by a experienced GURPS author.

I'd really appreciate some feedback on this. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

GURPS101: Weird Ritual Path Magic




It's no secret that I like Ritual Path magic, I've talked about it before so I won't go into it again. If you are even remotely familiar with my blog (and I'll assume you are) you know that this is a subject near and dear to my heart - like most magic systems. So what do I mean weird Ritual Path magic? I mean...getting weird.


Adversarial Energy Accumulation
What if gathering energy were not a uncontested task? What if some force or being out there didn't like you stealing energy to do whatever ritual you want to do? (Note: this was inspired by a less-complete system proposed by fellow forumite Anders in a email.


Energy Accumulation as an Invention
Suppose that energy for rituals could only be gathered by special collectors or machines? Or perhaps one-off processes that took into account specific conditions. Maybe gathering energy can only be done during special events like eclipses, celestial alignments, etc. This would make magical energy a extremely precious resource and might be similar to Larry Niven's "The Magic Goes Away."


Energy Accumulation Based on Other Attributes
GURPS Thaumatology has a great section on this (it starts on page 29); but let's see how it applies to Ritual Path magic..


If you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Carpe Blogiem: The Laptop the Internet Gave Me



As promised - an unboxing video - also a few pictures, but before that I'd like to jaw a bit. First, I didn't put down any names for those of you who helped me get this magnificent machine that I'm typing on right now. It was brought to my attention that some of you folks might not WANT it to be known for what you did. I'll respect that - however, anyone who does want their name out there for that did, I'll edit this post later and toss it up there. Just so you know though, I've decorated my new laptop with the names of every person who did donate as a reminder to myself and anyone else of the good turn I was done. 
          Second, I got a crazy awesome machine thanks to Cyber Monday sale plus -10% off coupon for customized laptop plus -$70 coupon for Toshiba laptops. I ended up saving something like $600 off $1,400 machine and a ton of free hardware I didn't order. Apparently, it was a mistake from the factory, and they've refused to charge me. Yay! A few pictures:





Some specs below for those who want to know:


Toshiba Satellite S70-BBT2N23 Laptop (Customized)

Software
Windows 8.1 (After getting Start8 from Stardock...well, I rather like Windows 8 - something I thought I'd never say)
1 month trial for new Office 365 customers (I ditched this for my copy of Office 2007, but I was given a copy of Profession Office 2013 by one of you guys)
Norton Internet Security™ 2013 (30-day trial subscription) (I just ditched this - I hate Norton)

Hardware
4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4710HQ Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.50GHz)with)Intel®ITurbo Boost Technologyn2.0gy 2.0
Intel HD Integrated Graphics 4600 2 GB onboard memory
8GB DDR3L 1600MHz (4GB + 4GB)
1TB (5400rpm, Serial ATA)
17.3" HD+ TruBrite® LED Backlit display (1600x900) with touchscreen
DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive (I actually got a blu-ray drive, for some reason - looks like they gave it to me free - it was not on my order sheet!)
Premium Raised Tile Keyboard LED Backlit with 10-key (black)
Wi-Fi® Wireless networking (802.11b/g/n) + Bluetooth 4.0

Warranty
1 Year Standard Limited Warranty (1 Year on Battery)

Third, as I said I would, I got some peripherals (stuff I needed): a new gel mouse pad, a new set of headphones, and a teensy-weensy app purchase (Start8). Leftover funds paid some of my bills this month.
          After I got everything mostly set up, I'm still organizing things - it'll probably be a few more days until I'm fully ready to go - I was able to dish out around 3k words in under an hour. Finally, I can type at my full speed and not slow down for the buffer! It was amazing. The touchscreen interface is pretty mandatory for Windows 8, but I fiddled with a few things and bent it to work the way I needed it to. Having a full terabyte hard drive is so weird because I can fit just about all of my often-used media on a single drive. As a side bonus, the media buttons are very easily accessible, and I can see their placement increasing my speed when I'm transcribing videos for Doug (and any other bloggers who want to make use of my services). The speakers are also damn nice and the laptop itself has an audio bar running along the top. The camera/internal mike is pretty decent too and after a bit of tweaking, it works great. Also, USB 3.0...I have tasted the power of the gods, and USB 2.0 seems so puny now. 
          Not to mention I can get FOUR working screens now (laptop, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, and 1 iDisplay) - I'll never need to shutter windows again. When doing things like transcription or working on technical pieces (which GURPS qualifies for) with multiple windows, they're a godsend. One thing that was pretty awesome was how quickly the laptop found, installed, and started up my docking station (I just have an old Kensington - but it still works). With other computers, it took hours to get it working right. Some stuff I don't like so much (not that I'm complaining!): a) to upgrade the laptop later on requires taking the entire thing apart to get to the ram and the hard drive. I watched a video, and it was very involved. Still, that's many years down the line (I like to plan ahead when I can). b) the sheer edges of Win8 boxes throw me off. I was used to the bevals of Windows 7, and it is taking some getting used to. c) The screen is BRIGHT. That's taking a bit of getting used to. The lines are nice, crisp, and clean. This is probably something that will go away when I get new glasses. And that's it. This thing is awesome, something to be with me for quite a while. Again, thank you all. You've given this poor boy a wonderful gift. Now, to the unboxing video!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Triple Threat - Water Leaper




Water Leaper
The welsh llamhigyn y dwr is a strange beasty that looks like a frog the size of a wolf, but has no bat wings instead of forelegs and no hind legs. It also has a long lizard-like tail with a stinger on the end. Despite its lack of legs, it can jump incredibly long distances by using its muscular wings or hobble across the ground slowly. The number after the slash in its Move score indicates the amount of hexes it can clear with a single leap, though this is tiring.

Any Campaign Setting...
ST: 14             HP: 14            Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 12           Move: 1/8 (Water Move 5)
IQ: 4               Per: 14            Weight: 150 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 12             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 4 (Tough Skin)

Stinger (12): 2d-1 impaling or crushing. Reach C-1. If the damage is impaling and penetrated DR, the subject must roll HT-5 or take 2d+2 toxic damage. This repeats every 10 seconds for one minute or until the subject successfully resists. If the subject takes more than 1/2 HP from this damage he reduces his Basic Speed and DX by 2 and his Basic Move by 4 as his muscles stiffen up. If he takes more than 1/3 he reduces his DX by another 2 points. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.

Traits:  Amphibious; Cold Blooded (50°F); Combat Reflexes; Doesn’t Breathe (Gills); Extra Attack 1; Flight (Winged; Air Move 12); Nictitating Membrane 4; No Legs (Semi-Aquatic); Super Jump 4 (Costs Fatigue, 1 FP); Vibration Sense (Water); Wild Animal.
Skills:  Brawling-12; Jumping-14; Swimming-16; Survival (Swamp)-14.
Notes: Vision rolls at an extra -6 in full daylight. If the GM is using Intrinsic Fright Check from GURPS Horror (p. 139), water leapers have a modifier of -2.


Dungeon Fantasy...
ST: 14             HP: 14            Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 12           Move: 1/8 (Water Move 5)
IQ: 4               Per: 14            Weight: 150 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 12             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 2 (Tough Skin)

Stinger (12): 2d-1 impaling or crushing. Reach C-1. If the damage is impaling and penetrated DR, the subject must roll HT-5 or take 2d+2 toxic damage. This repeats every 10 seconds for one minute or until the subject successfully resists. If the subject takes more than 1/2 HP from this damage he reduces his Basic Speed and DX by 2 and his Basic Move by 4 as his muscles stiffen up. If he takes more than 1/3 he reduces his DX by another 2 points. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.

Traits:  Amphibious; Cold Blooded (50°F); Combat Reflexes; Doesn’t Breathe (Gills); Extra Attack 1; Flight (Winged; Air Move 12); Nictitating Membrane 4; No Legs (Semi-Aquatic); Super Jump 4 (Costs Fatigue, 1 FP); Vibration Sense (Water); Wild Animal.
Skills:  Brawling-12; Jumping-14; Swimming-16; Survival (Swamp)-14.
Classification: Dire Animal.
Notes: Vision rolls at an extra -6 in full daylight.


Monster Hunters...
ST: 14             HP: 14            Speed: 7.00
DX: 12            Will: 12           Move: 1/8 (Water Move 5)
IQ: 4               Per: 14            Weight: 150 lbs.
HT: 12            FP: 12             SM: 0
Dodge: 11       Parry: 10        DR: 6 (Tough Skin)

Fright Check: -2

Stinger (12): 2d+3 impaling or crushing. Reach C-1. If the damage is impaling and penetrated DR, the subject must roll HT-5 or take 3d toxic damage. This repeats every 10 seconds for one minute or until the subject successfully resists. If the subject takes more than 1/2 HP from this damage he reduces his Basic Speed and DX by 2 and his Basic Move by 4 as his muscles stiffen up. If he takes more than 1/3 he reduces his DX by another 2 points. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part. Made as a Deceptive Attack (-2 to defend against)

Traits:  Amphibious; Cold Blooded (50°F); Combat Reflexes; Doesn’t Breathe (Gills); Extra Attack 1; Flight (Winged; Air Move 16); Nictitating Membrane 4; No Legs (Semi-Aquatic); Super Jump 4 (Costs Fatigue, 1 FP); Vibration Sense (Water); Wild Animal.
Skills:  Brawling-16; Jumping-16; Swimming-16; Survival (Swamp)-14.
Notes: Vision rolls at an extra -6 in full daylight. Use the skills listed under Cryptids in the Know Thy Enemy box in Monster Hunters 1 (p. 16). Two water leapers are a fair fight for one champion.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

GURPS101: Barter and Trade




GURPS Basic Set assumes that characters can go to shops, stores, or whatever and exchange currency for whatever item they are seeking. This is built in deep to the system and several advantages (Wealth, Status, Independent Income, etc.) rely on it. Now, this does work for most campaigns, but what about post-apocalyptic campaigns where the coin of the realm is bottlecaps or bullets or similar items? What about TL0 societies that haven't invented coinage yet? In such games Wealth as written probably doesn't exist. In fact, for such games you really ought to just ignore the Wealth rules entirely and give everyone a flat amount to buy their starting gear. This tends to ask more questions than it answers. What about settled NPCs or PCs who can amass wealth by staying in a single location? What about wandering PCs who bring their spoils back to a specific place? Granted, a good chunk of that can just be written off as "stuff I got in play." What about creating a new statistic to help simulate the sort of give and take you see in movies, fiction, TV shows, and the like?

Bartering Capacity
1/level
Each level of Bartering Capacity represents 5% of the campaigns Starting Wealth (p. B00) that you have in goods, services, or a "line" on where you can get such things. This is intentionally abstract and might include any item or a LC less than the CR of the setting that are common. You may specify what you have if the GM allows as long as you don't try to "sell back" to yourself by keeping items. In most cases the GM will need to be very strict on what a character could have found or come across during his time. Use the Commercial Transactions rules (p. B561) for the actual bartering process. After a deal is struck your Bartering Capacity goes down and you get the goods or services you've bargained for.
Services bartered away require a bit more detail. The player should first tell the GM what services he's bartering away. The GM should then use either an existing job entry (e.g., GURPS Bio-Tech, p. 208-209 has a entry for a general practitioner which is considered a Wealthy job) or make up a appropriate number. Then divide monthly rates by 25 (for a day of provided services) or by 200 (for one hours worth). Then take the resulting number and compare it to the Starting Wealth of the campaign and convert it that to a Bartering Capacity level. For example, if a character who is a medically trained doctor (Diagnosis and Physician at skill 12 or better) in a TL6 post apocalyptic game could barter away his services at around $320 per day or $40 a hour. This translates to about 4 levels of Bartering Capacity for a day or 1 level of Bartering Capacity for 2 hours of work.
While it may seem the best way to get things is to barter services vs. goods, this requires that you stay in one place for a while and have the skills to begin with. Less than satisfactory services due to failures (especially critical failures) could land the PC in hot water with the locals resulting in reaction penalties, hostile interaction, or even combat should they fail to live up to their end of the bargain!
Bartering Capacity can go up or down during gameplay like any other trait and may be bought up using unspent character points like any other trait.


Picking Over the Bones
I'm sure there are some incongruities in the system I've presented - edge cases I haven't thought of or rules that could use some tightening, but overall this seems like a workable idea - especially for one that came to me in a dream. Of course, I rarely use the RAW Wealth rules (I like PK's rules and use them for all my campaigns), not because I find them distasteful, but because PK's alternate ones work better in my experience. Now I wonder should I expand on this and submit it to Pyramid? It's not a bad little rule and we don't really have anything for barter and trade in GURPS.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gamemaster's Guidepost: Diablorising Sorcery - The Witch Doctor - Part II




Damn it, man! *itches skin* I need a hit, okay? So...uhh.. hey, I got this necromancy spells, right? I can quit when I want...I just need one more hit. One more hit ought to do it, right? Yeah. That's it. For old times sake. Like the previous installment, this one is all about Diablo III skills as Known Spells for Sorcery. The following are the Secondary skills of the Witch Doctor:


Grasp of the Dead
Basic Cost: 225 points (or more)
Casting Roll: None (Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit).
Duration: 30 seconds.

The ground around you cracks and roils as corpse hands rise from the ground grabbing targets and squeezing them. Use a skill of 14 to hit, but don't add any ranged penalties - the attack hits everyone within 8 yards of you. Targets do not get a chance to attempt a Active Defense the first time they are attacked by this spell! Count them as surprised. Successful use of the attack by you against them result in a -4 to Active Defenses. This only affects targets touching the ground. Anyone hit is bound to the ground with a ST 15 Binding attack (p. B00) with the Engulfing and Unbreakable modifiers. Targets also take 2d crushing damage as the hands squeeze and continue to take 2d damage every 1d+2 seconds for up to 1d cycles. Regardless, the effect doesn't last more than 30 seconds.
The basic (225-point) version of this spell lets you affect an area up to 16 yards across. Each additional doubling of area adds 20 to basic cost; the GM sets the cap on this increase, but 32 yards is the recommended maximum.

Statistics: Binding Attack 15 (Area Effect, 8 yards, +150%; Bombardment, Skill 14, -5%; Emanation, -20%; Engulfing, +60%; Environmental, Touching ground, -20%; Extended Duration, 3x, +20%; Link, +10%; Magical, -10%; One Shot, -10%; Overhead, Surprise Attack, +150%; Persistent, +40%; Unbreakable, +40%) [158] + Crushing Attack 2d (Area Effect, 8 yards, +150%; Bombardment, Skill 14, -5%; Costs Fatigue, 1 FP, -5%; Cyclic, 4 cycles, 5 seconds, +300%; Emanation, -20%; Environmental, Touching ground, -20%; Magical, -10%; Link, +10%; Overhead, Surprise Attack, +150%) [67].


Fire Bats
Basic Cost: 17 points/level.
Casting Roll: None (Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit).
Duration: Instantaneous.

You summon a stream of flaming bats to attack a target in front of you. Use Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit, but apply no range penalties - this is a Jet (p. B00) attack. It does burning damage with dice equal to your level of this spell x4.
The GM must determine what the maximum level available in the campaign is.

Statistics: Burning Attack 4d (Costs Fatigue, 1 FP, -5%; Jet, +0%; Magical, -10%) [17/level].


Haunt
Basic Cost: 40 points/level.
Casting Roll: None (Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit).
Duration: Special, see below.

You summon a spirit from beyond to freeze your target. Use Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit, applying normal range penalties. It does burning damage with dice equal to your level of this spell every second for 10 seconds. Your target may make a HT-3 roll to resist taking this damage, but must roll every round. Targets that take more than 1/3 their HP from this attack reduce their movement to (Move x 0.2). This effect lasts until they are healed of the damage the originally suffered from this attack. Should your target die before all cycles have been completed the cycles "jump" to the nearest target. Make a new attack roll with penalties for range from the old target to the new one. Success indicates the new target suffers the remaining cycles. This continues to happen until all cycles have been completed.. Burning damage from this attack cannot start fires, but damage inflicted cannot be healed without being in a warm place and dry; see Freezing (p. B00).
The GM must determine what the maximum level available in the campaign is.

Statistics: Burning Attack (Cosmic, Damaging Hazard, +50%*; Cosmic, Wandering Cycles, +50%†; Costs Fatigue, 1 FP, -5%; Cyclic, 10 cycles, 1 second, Resistible, +500%; Freezing, +20%; Magical, -10%; Missing Effect, Cannot start fires, -10%; Resistible, HT-3, -15%; Symptoms, 1/3 HP, 0.2x Move, +120%) [40/level].
* Allows a Hazard (p. B00) on a attack that otherwise damages a target.
† If the original target dies, the remaining cycles "jump." Treat this as if you were making a new attack, using your original attack roll (not including the original range penalties), but originating from the afflicted target. The new target suffers the remaining cycles.


Locust Swarm
Basic Cost: 45 points/level.
Casting Roll: None (Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit).
Duration: Special, see below.

You summon a cloud of locusts to swarm and bite your target. Use Innate Attack (Projectile) to hit, applying normal range penalties. It does toxic damage with dice equal to your level of this spell every second for 10 seconds.  Should your target die before all cycles have been completed the cycles "jump" to the nearest target. Make a new attack roll with penalties for range from the old target to the new one. Success indicates the new target suffers the remaining cycles. This continues to happen until all cycles have been completed..

The GM must determine what the maximum level available in the campaign is.

Statistics: Toxic Attack (Cosmic, Wandering Cycles, +50%*; Costs Fatigue, 1 FP, -5%; Cyclic, 10 cycles, 1 second, +1000%; Magical, -10%) [45/level].
* If the original target dies, the remaining cycles "jump." Treat this as if you were making a new attack, using your original attack roll (not including the original range penalties), but originating from the afflicted target. The new target suffers the remaining cycles.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

GURPS101: Sorcerous Hexes




Behind Ritual Path magic, Sorcery (from Pyramid #3/63: Infinite Worlds II) is probably my second favorite magical system out there. It seamlessly blends two things that I like about GURPS: flexibility and power builds. There have been many powers-based approaches to magic using modular abilities before - but I think PK nailed it perfectly with his Sorcerous Empowerment and Known Spells. It's simple, elegant, and easy to use - it's rare that you get a system like that (and hell, PK is going 3 and 0). One of the things that came up recently in my gaming group was "Okay, we can improvise spells - but what if what we want is just a little bit different than a Known Spell we already have?" Well, that got me to thinking "Why can't I use Temporary Enhancements/Abilities at Default?" And you know what? Why not indeed!


Sorcerous Hexes
GMs can allow sorcerers to use the rules for Temporary Enhancements (GURPS Powers, p. 172) or Abilities at Default (GURPS Powers, p. 173), albeit in a limited way. With a caveat: adding enhancements cannot change the fundamental nature of the spell. A Cone of Fire could not become a tight-beam burning attack. Buy the Heat Beam or Laser Eyes spell for that. Anything else is fair game. Additionally, using a hex should additional fatigue equal to half the penalty and require a roll against the spell for the same amount. For example, a Hex that uses +40% worth of enhancements would cost 4 FP and result in a roll against the Known Spell's casting roll at -2. Spells without casting rolls require that you completely eliminate the penalty to use it and pay it in FP.


Example Spell: Animate Dead

Animate Dead
Basic Cost: 32 points.
Casting Roll: IQ.
Duration: Indefinite.

You can animate a nearby corpse with necromantic power after a minute of concentration and profane ritual. Anyone watching you do this reacts to you at -4. You must be able to touch your target during this time. After you are finished it takes another minute for the corpse to rise becoming a zombie. Such zombies last indefinitely, but you may only have a maximum number of zombies equal to your Magery (Sorcery) level. To determine how many zombies you can control look up your Magery level in the “Size” column of the Size and Speed/Range Table (p. B550) and then read “Linear Measurement” as "zombies" versus "yards. For example, Magery 1 allows you to have up to three zombie minions, five with Magery 2, and so on.

Statistics: Affliction 1 (HT; Accessibility, Requires dead bodies, -10%; Advantage, Modified Alternate Form*, +150%; Based on IQ, Own Roll, +20%; Contact Agent, -40%; Cosmic, Works on the dead, +50%; Costs Fatigue, 1 FP, -5%; Extended Duration, Permanent, +150%; Immediate Preparation Required, 1 minute, -30%; Magical, -10%; Malediction 1, +100%; Melee Attack, Reach C, -30%; Nuisance Effect, -4 to reaction rolls when using ability, -20%; Onset, 1 minute, -10%) [32].
* This Modified Alternate Form is: Alternate Form (Reanimated Corpse), the Reanimate Corpse Template is from GURPS Zombies (p. 100), since it has a negative cost the cost of Alternate Form is it's base 15 points.


Hex (Summon the Dead): Instead of animating the dead, you summon them! This allows you to summon 1d zombies without having to use nearby corpses and takes 2d+1 seconds of Concentration, a IQ-4, and 6 FP. Statistics: Allies (4 zombies; 25% of points; Constantly; Conjurable, +100%; Takes Extra Time 3, -30%; Magical, -10%) [26].

Friday, December 5, 2014

Carpe Blogiem: Recovery, Worthiness, and Humility


I've stayed up half the night trying to write this blog entry. (Bear with me, it rambles a bit.) Part of it was typing on my small 10" tablet and the other was trying to figure out what to say. I eventually just snagged a friend's computer for a few hours and the cursor just stared back at me like some maddeningly taunting blinking horizontal bit. "Words to paper" I said as I stared at the screen over and over, getting up, getting a cup of tea, doing something, then more staring. I hate being at a loss for words - job hazard and all - but it still irks me. I wanted to write something appropriate and non-rambly - but that just wasn't in the cards.
             When I posted the update about my laptop last week I was neither prepared nor expecting the response I got. I'd tweeted in the early hours the day before about Neuromancer's (my laptop's name) death. I despaired. If you read my blog then you know I'm bi-polar - I've mostly got it under control (with the help of sheer will, medication, and support), but sometimes I slip when I'm scared or stressed. I was both. I didn't know what to do. Still trying for a disability claim means I can't work any kind of real job or perform any labor other than what I did when I applied. Given the fact that I was unable to walk when I applied and was unemployed...well, you see the position I'm in. I couldn't sleep after I failed to fix my computer and the blackest of moods took me into its midnight embrace. The world descended into a nightmare of grey. I had gone full on depressive.
             Where could I possibly get the money I'd need for another laptop? I quite literally pour every single dime I make back into my household to pay bills, the mortgage, and other necessary expenses. I don't go out to eat unless my friends take me. I don't buy new clothing or personal items (I haven't had a new shirt in about 4 years and I'm wearing glasses from nearly a decade ago). I don't go to movies and I borrow books from the public or private libraries (namely my other other mother's). My only vices are music (which YouTube seems to be filling more and more lately) and gaming (which I need to earn an income anyways). My only frivolous expenses are my cat - which isn't really frivolous because he keeps my blood sugar in check (but that's a matter of perspective) and the occasional diabetic friendly goodie. I calculate every expenditure. I scrounge the trash for electronics I can fix to sell (occasionally given to others - no one should be without a computer these days). I barter those same skills to hunters, fishers, and farmers in my area for food and I grow or fish/crab/clam when I can. I "trade" skills. You know "I'll fix your TV if you fix my car." I fix other computers for people. I set up networks. I do some (light) programming. I run wiring. Basically, I work oddjobs. I write whatever I can for money (both articles and ghostwritten content for various folks on the web) - I'll scribble anything for a penny - and it remains the bulk of my income. In short I do whatever I have to ensure those I'm responsible for are safe, warm, and fed . I sacrifice and send anything of mine to the altar to get to the next month - pride, sanity, whatever. Still, I live a very spartan life (and I mostly like it that way) and I don't need much. Simplification when you suffer from a mood disorder that makes you want to destroy things is a Good Thing (TM). Luckily, I'm able to get my insulin and medicine from a local charity - I'd be in a really bad place otherwise. I didn't know what to do so I wrote that entry.
             And then you all came in and reached with your collective hand and pulled me out of that pit I found myself in. You didn't ask how I got down there - you just reached and you pulled. You said "No. Don't give up." There is one particularly poignant scene in the Doctor Who episode of "the Wedding of River Song" that smacked so heartily of synchronicity in that moment that it still makes me wonder if life was imitating art on a small scale:
"The sky is full of a million, million voices saying yes, of course we'll help. You've touched so many lives, saved so many people. Did you think when your time came, you'd really have to do more than just ask? You've decided that the universe is better off without you, but the universe doesn't agree."
It was like that, but with social media, emails, and messages. I was ready to give up. Ready to write myself off. If I couldn't get some form of income all I would be is a burden to my household. Then I got dozens of missives saying "Of course I can help! You helped me when I needed it" followed by Paypal donations or packages arriving in the mail or both. You kept giving until I grew ashamed for asking and you kept trying to help long after I said "I think I've got enough to get a good computer." You just kept on and apologized for not being able to give more. You were sorry because you couldn't give some bloke you barely knew more money to fix a problem that wasn't yours to begin with. That is such a wonder that I am still in awe of it, gobsmacked by the generosity without a second thought.
             After my grandmother died my faith in humanity and in the goodness of others - a longstanding and tolerant belief - began to crumble. Some of my family did my nana so wrong and I've tried to pick up the pieces after for my mom and the others. I've still not grieved. How can I when others rely on me so much? When I need to keep everything moving along because that's my duty and I must do it. But you...you wonderful, amazing, people took those crumbing, fractured pieces of my beliefs and remade them anew. Gave me hope when I was at my lowest. To say that I am humbled by your actions, by your words, and by your belief in me...well, it's an understatement. I thank you all for what you did. For giving me the ability to keep fighting uphill battles and tilting at windmills. For reminding me that I should never ever give up or give in. "Unto the last" is the family motto...and I think that sums it up nicely.
             Again, thank all of you and forgive the rambling. I'll probably do another post when my new computer comes in (I ordered it Thursday!) and maybe an unboxing video. Considering that I managed to save most of my files and had the majority of the super important backed up it'll almost be like it never happened when I get my new machine. Soon as I can I'll get back in action and resume my normal activities. Until then I guess I'm on forced vacation (which SUCKS) and I'm really ready to get back to work. Just FYI, any leftover funds will be helping me pay my mortgage and buying a few new peripherals (I need another set of headphones and a new gel-mousepad) so I won't be partying or the like with your gifts/donations. I cannot say thank you enough - so I'll just say it again: thank you. You made a difference in my life and all those I'm responsible for. I'll try to be worthy of your faith. Worthy of your gifts. Worthy of your kindness. Worthy.

Humbly and with Much Respect,

Christopher R. Rice
~Freelance Writer~

Thursday, December 4, 2014

GURPS101: Dungeon Fantasy and Flying Carpets




So I've been running a Dungeon Fantasy game for a while now - it's a helluva lot more fun than I would have ever thought! - and one of the things that's popped up twice is the flying carpet (Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables, p. 39). It follows the normal rules for the line ($20 per point of energy required to enchant it), but the Flying Carpet spell is kind of ...well it lacks some customization. I wouldn't have a issue with it in most cases, but the 25 lbs. per square foot rule kind of sucks. The easiest thing to do would be to just say "it works this way now," but I'm not a huge fan of that approach. So I got to thinking...using basic GURPS magic, how would I make this spell better? Why by making a "higher level" spell of course! So here are a few new spells and a couple new magical flying conveyances.


Flying Objects Appear Closer Than They Are
A couple of ideas for this interesting (and useful spell).


Greater Flying Carpet
Regular
As per Flying Carpet (GURPS Magic, p. 146), except as noted below.

Duration: 10 minutes.
Cost: 1 per square foot of surface. Each square foot will carry about 25 pounds (or less, of made of flimsy material). Optionally, you can pay double the cost to carry 50 pounds or triple the cost to carry 100 pounds per square foot. Add +1 energy per point of Move that exceeds the caster's skill (up to twice his magery). Half that to maintain.
Time to cast: 1 minute.
Prerequisites: Magery 3 and Flying Carpet.

Item
Staff, wand, or jewelry. Usable only by mages; only affects the wearer. Energy cost to create: 500. A conveyance may be permanently enchanted for 200 times casting cost.


Dungeon Fantasy Flying Objects
Using the above spell, delvers might find carpets that are much faster or stronger than normal (Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treaures, p. 39). In such a case, maximum Move becomes 2d+14 (this increases the cost of the object normally). Additionally, roll 1d every time a flying object is rolled, on a 1-4 it holds 25 lbs. per square foot (as normal), on a 5 it holds 50 lbs. per square foot, and on a 6 it holds 100 lbs. per square foot! Notate this as "normal," "strong," or "titanic." This increases the costs, however.

Flying Object                          Weight         Maximum Weight Carried      Cost
Broom, Normal                        2 lbs.            200 lbs.                                        see DF8, p. 39
Broom, Strong                          2 lbs.            400 lbs.                                       $8,000
Broom, Titanic                         2 lbs.            800 lbs.                                        $12,000
Carpet, Small, Normal             9 lbs.            450 lbs.                                        see DF8, p. 39
Carpet, Small, Strong               9 lbs.            900 lbs.                                        $144,800
Carpet, Small, Titanic              9 lbs.            1,800 lbs.                                     $217,200
Carpet, Large, Normal             27 lbs.          1,350 lbs.                                     see DF8, p. 39
Carpet, Large, Strong              27 lbs.           2,700 lbs.                                     $434,400
Carpet, Large, Titanic             27 lbs.           5,400 lbs.                                     $651,600
Gazebo, Normal                      2,000 lbs.      4,050 lbs.                                     see DF8, p. 39
Gazebo, Strong                        2,000 lbs.      8,100 lbs.                                     $1,292,000
Gazebo, Titanic                       2,000 lbs.      16,200 lbs.                                    $1,938,000


Optional Rule: Encumbered Flying
If the GM dislikes how the Flying Carpet spell ignores encumbrance, he could optionally rule that it has a Basic Lift equal to half its maximum weight allowance. So a small carpet could carry 225 lbs. without a problem, 450 lbs. at Light encumbrance (-1 to Move, Dodge, etc.), 675 lbs. at Medium encumbrance, and so on. The benefits (being able to carry more, albeit slower) and drawbacks cancels each other out.


Levitating Vehicles
A classic staple in fantasy, but oddly absent from GURPS is the enchantment that can "levitate" a object permanently. Probably the easiest way to get this effect would be to say that Apportation can permanently make a object float in one spot. This costs 100 energy times the casting cost. This allows the enchanted object to move at a rate of 1 on its own - or at the rate of whatever creature is pushing or pulling it. A example is below:


Levitating Wagon
Like a regular wagon, except its wheels are removable (and stored on the side of the wagon), is completely walled in, and floats about three feet off the ground. On its own it can Move at a rate of 1 as long as someone with Magery is directing it, but it's usually harnessed to beasts of burden. It requires a odd set-up in that it needs at least one animal in front of it and behind it (to keep it stable) and inflicts a -4 familiarity penalty on Teamster rolls until the driver gets used to it. Its move is equal to the move of whatever being it's harnessed to.


TL Vehicle ST/HP Hnd/SR HT Move LWt. Load SM Occ. DR Range Cost         Locations
3^   Wagon 35†       -3/4         12c Spec. 1.14    0.8    +2   1+3   2     F         $175,080  2DE4W



Picking Over the Bones
I'm not saying that the base Flying Carpet spell is bad - I just like the idea of a improved spell with better capabilities. The levitating wagon thing was also something I ad-libed in one of my game sessions and the idea stuck. They are insanely expensive - but allow quick travel through any sort of terrain. You could even use it over water if you had some domesticated animals would would pull it. It's not going to be for all Dungeon Fantasy games though - some folks might be running mega-dungeons or the like - I'm one for the hex-crawl and adventures taking place outdoors as much as underground.