Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spandrels From Mythic Beasts

This week, another sneak peek at some kinds of magical "treasure" that animal PCs can earn and effectively turn into Species Traits.

The following spandrels are based on rumored abilities of some lesser-known mythical beasts.

Bonnacon’s Hide (Pre-requisite: Must be a herd animal) 
You gain the burn-resistant ability of the legendary bonnacon, a herd beast with powers of acidic excrement.  This spandrel grants you resistance to acid and fire attacks; you only take half damage from such attacks, or one-quarter damage on a successful saving throw.

Bonnacon’s Scorching Dung (Pre-requisite: Must be a herd animal) 
The bonnacon is a mythical species of herd animal with a unique defense mechanism: when fleeing attacks, the bonnacon excretes a trail of acidic dung that scorches pursuers like fire. Some legends say a bonnacon could expel this dung in a stream or cone while passing gas, as well.

This spandrel grants you an area attack that spews from your anus, in a manner similar to a skunk’s musk attack.  It forms a 30 ft. by 30 ft. area of effect; all targets within this area must make Blast saves or suffer an amount of damage equal to your maximum HP on the first round of exposure.  Those who fail this initial saving throw must then make successful Tough Trauma save each round thereafter, or suffer the same damage again. This damage continues each round until the target makes a successful save. 

Targets who fail these saves can do nothing else on their turn except flail about in agony, until they succeed on a save.

Horns Of The Jackalope (Prerequisite: Must be a rabbit or other lagomorph) 
Three times per day, the rabbit can cause a pair of antlers, similar to those of a male deer, to appear on his or her forehead.  These antlers will behave in every way as though they were a normal part of the rabbit’s anatomy.  They inflict 1d7[1d8] hp of damage.  As long as the antlers are manifested, the rabbit can use them as her preferred arrack form, even if she chose another such attack for herself at the time of character creation.  In addition, Warriors can use the antlers as their specialized attack form, even if they normally use another attack form for this purpose.  The antlers manifest for 1 turn per Total Level of the rabbit.

Once per round, the bearer of the horns of the jackalope can emit a bone-chilling scream, like that of a human woman in agony.  Characters who fail an Average save vs. paralysis become so frightened by the sound of this scream that they suffer a –2 penalty on all core dice rolls for the next 1d5 [1d6] rounds.

Pantere’s Flowery Breath (Pre-requisite: Must be a cat of SZ Medium or above) 
You gain an unusual breath weapon, first displayed by the great cat of legend who served as a riding mount for decadent gods.  This spandrel enables you to belch forth a cloud of sweet-smelling gas that occupies a 30 ft. by 30 ft. space.  Any animal within this area of effect must  make a Challenging Charm save, or become enamored of you in a manner identical to the classic fantasy spell charm  person. This effect lasts for 24 hours.  You may use the flowery breath spandrel once per day for every 3 Total Levels you have achieved, to a maximum of three times per day.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Featured Creature -- Panda

Pandas are to their fellow bears as cheetahs are to other cats: technically a relative, but "weird" enough compared to them that they stand apart. Unlike other bears, they do not hibernate for the winter, and almost never eat meat. They also have strange "thumbs" that have become legendary among those who study the history of life.

Pandas are serene and ponderous (other bears say, "lazy"), and have an even greater association with meditative and spiritual practices than their cousins in other lands. Almost purely vegetarian, they are peace-loving and playful to a fault, but still capable of handling themselves in a fight if necessary.

     AC: 6  
     AT (Dam): 1 bite (1d5 [1d6]), 2 claws (1d3)
     Beginning HP: 7 [8]
     Habitat: Temperate forest and mountains
     MV: 6
     SZ: Medium

Species Traits:
  • Calming Presence: Pandas inspire stillness in others.  Simply being in their presence grants other animals a +2 bonus on Seer checks or other lore checks that involve concentration, and a +1 bonus on Fear saves and other rolls to resist a forced shift in Attitude.
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Panda's Thumb: Pandas have a "mutant" radial sesamoid bone that functions almost like a thumb, and makes them better at grasping small objects than other bears.  They get a +1 bonus on all lore checks that involve tool use or manipulation of objects (but not trap-springing, sleight of paw, or other uses that mimic the use of true hands).
  • Scent
  • Still Mind: It's difficult to get a panda riled up.  Storyteller lore checks attempting to shift their Attitude in a more hostile direction suffer a -2 penalty.  Pandas also get a +2 bonus on Fear saves. 
  • Unique Diet: Pandas are the only bears naturally capable of eating bamboo, their favorite and almost only food.  They get a +2 bonus on all Herbalist lore checks involving the use of bamboo, and with a successful Challenging Healer lore check, can boost their natural healing capability by 50% per day by eating a dose of bamboo
  • +2 bonus on all lore checks that involve climbing.  This becomes +4 if climbing rocks or trees.
  • Suitable Niches: Guardian, Healer, Herbalist, Seer

Progress Report

The manuscript for the Great & Small "core rules" has now reached 100 pages and nearly 44,000 words (all in 12 pt Times New Roman, single spaced between lines with a space at the end of each paragraph).  Some of that is material that I will probably split off from the main document and offer as "web enchancements" or something like that when I go to offer hard copies + art versions for sale.

I'm also teaching myself how to use Scribus, since I haven't done any graphic design or page layout stuff since I was 1st level or so. I'm envisioning the book/PDF as a digest size product, similar to LotFP's stuff, or Elf Lair Games' Spellcraft & Swordplay. I plan to produce an artless PDF layout for free distribution, and hope to raise money to take care of artists and publishing fees for a paid PDF/print version of the game. That's what any crowd-funding will cover, assuming I don't win a lottery between now and then.

Once again, thanks to everyone for all the support. As you can see from today's flurry of new posts, I am hard at work on this project again.

Featured Creature -- Snake (Venomous)

Venomous snakes are far more dynamic than their constrictor kin, and often greatly more feared by others, as well.  For while constrictors are a lethal threat only to animals smaller than them, venomous snakes have the potential to kill opponents much larger than themselves. This gives them a much eviler reputation among non-snakes, and some venomous varieties embrace this perception and lead lives devoted to cruelty and terror.

Nonetheless, like constrictors, they are also regarded as symbols of change and wisdom, and tend to deliberate for as much time as they can before committing to an action.

     AC: 6
     AT (Dam.): bite (1d3)
     Beginning HP: 7 [8]
     Habitat: Temperate to Tropical (any)
     MV: 4; crawling, climbing, swimming 
     SZ: Tiny
Species Traits:
All venomous snakes share the following abilities in common.
  • Diminished Profile 
  • Low-Light Vision 
  • Natural Armor: Improve AC by 1 point at 1st, 3rd, and 5th Total Levels. 
  • Niche Restriction:  Because they lack limbs, snakes cannot choose Herbalist as their niche. 
  • Spit Venom: Some venomous snakes have an additional use for their poison attack. Instead of delivering their poison through a bite, they can choose to spit their venom as a ranged attack.  On a successful hit, the target must make an Average Poison save or become blinded.  The blindness lasts for 1d5 [1d6] turns, but only if it gets cleaned out within 1d5 [1d6] minutes.  Otherwise, the blindness is permanent.
  • Steady Growth: Venomous snakes can increase in SZ once per level, but can never grow larger than Large SZ without the aid of magic or other exceptional means.  They cannot skip a level of growth and resume it later, however; once they stop at a particular SZ, it remains their natural length until death. 
  • Stealthy:  +1 bonus on Trickster lore checks to hide in shadows and move silently.  
  • Threat Display: Some of the most famous venomous snakes (cobras, rattlers) have some natural method of making themselves seem more menacing or threatening, especially towards those larger than them.  This gives these snakes a +2 bonus on all lore checks to frighten or intimidate foes. 
  • Venom Attack: Venomous snakes can make an envenomed Bite attack a number of times per day equal to 3x their Healer lore level, to a minimum of three times per day. Victims of a SZ category two larger than the snake or smaller must succeed on a Challenging Poison save or die within 1d10 turns. For creatures one SZ category larger, the save is Tough; for two categories larger, the save is Average; and at three or more categories larger, the save is Easy. 
  • Suitable Niches: Healer, Runner, Scout, Seer, Trickster, Warrior.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Featured Creature -- Eagle

There's a dearth of avians and sea creatures here at the G&S HQ, so let's remedy that with this week's entry.  And since it's still 4th of July week in the U.S., I'll do my patriotic duty and stat out our national dinosaur bird.

Among the noblest and most majestic of raptor birds, eagles range most of the world and prey on all manner of species.  They have even been known to attack prey larger than themselves, and are in fact one of the physically strongest flying birds in all the animal kingdom.

In fantasy realms, eagles often ally with elves and other fey creatures, especially in times of war against goblins, orcs, and the twisted worg wolves who serve them.

To small terrestrial species, eagles are a nightmare from the sky, but they are also respected for their courage.  Potential prey approaching an eagle would do well to shower the bird with flattery, as eagles are quite susceptible to their own self-image as the kings of the birds.

     AC: 7
     AT (Dam): 2 claws, 1 bite (1d2/1d2/1d4)
     Beginning HP: 5 [6]
     Habitat: Sub-arctic to sub-tropical
     MV: 2; flying 12
     SZ: Small

Species Traits:
  • Excellent Vision: Eagles can see three times better than a longpaw under normal conditions, granting them a +4 bonus on all lore checks to spot hidden objects or track moving targets on the ground from great heights. 
  • Flyby Attack
  • Great Strength: Eagles are among the strongest flying birds in existence; some have been known to lift targets three times their own body weight into the air.  They get a +2 bonus on all lore checks involving airborne feats of strength made against targets on the ground.
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Spatial Awareness: Like other flying birds and most sea creatures, eagles can easily think and fight in three dimensions. They suffer no penalties in "aerial" combat against land-dwelling creatures who enter their habitat.
  • Swoop: Eagles can mount a flying charge attack against creatures at a lower altitude.  This gives them a +2 to hit and lets them inflict double damage on their target.  However, it imposes a 2-point penalty on their Armor Class.
  • Ultravision
  • +6 bonus on all move silently checks while airborne
  • Suitable Niches: Herbalist, Runner, Scout, Warrior