22 Sessions

It’s been more than a year since I started a “real” campaign, the first such attempt at such since a short-lived attempt to run through Castle Ravenloft back in… 2009? 2010?  Anyway, I’ve played plenty since then, and before as well, but mostly in the “Sliders” setup, and as often a player as DM.  But now I’ve passed the one-year mark (sort of), so I thought I’d do a recap of where we’ve gotten so far.

  • Sessions played: 22
  • Hours per session: 4
  • Estimated total play time: 88 hours
  • Characters created: 6
  • Characters/players lost: 2
  • Characters killed: 0
  • Distance traveled: 1,332 miles (approximately)
  • Time elapsed (in game): 63 days
  • Levels gained: 7
  • Max character level: 3
  • Monsters killed: 17
  • Monsters fled from: 2
  • Non-monster enemies killed/incapacitated: 11

We try to get together every other week, but as we are all working adults, sometimes that gets interrupted by work, kids, hospitalizations, what have you.  So though we’ve been going for about a year and two months, we’ve not quite gotten to a year’s worth of sessions.  Along with the having kids to deal with, our sessions usually net about 4 hours of actual play time.  Between commutes, dinner, and the bedtime routine, anywhere from 1-2 hours are “wasted” on non-game stuff every night.  And now that one of our company has moved out of state, there are technical connection issues to deal with as well.  I was a bit surprised to count it all up and only get two “work weeks” of game time.

Also over the course of the year we’ve fluctuated in the number of players available.  One of our number had to drop out due to work conflicts, another stopped playing because of poor communication of the game’s goals on my part.  So far no one has died (though a few have come close, almost every fight it seems someone nearly dies), but I hope think that will change eventually.  Gotta make these people feel it, you know?

The party started in Canterbury, Kent, England, but quickly moved to Dover, Calais, then Amsterdam after a storm hit the ship, Hamburg, then overland up through Denmark, across the water from Fredrikshavn to Gothenburg, up through Uddevalla, Fredrikstad, and finally Oslo.  After about a week in Oslo they set off to Hogevarde Mountain, back to Oslo, and have now trekked up to a small settlement called Hovringen.  It’s been quite a journey, and taken more than three months.

The level gain is rather slow, because these folks aren’t getting into fights four nights out of seven.  There’s been conflict, sure, and plenty of fights, but my XP is assigned on combat damage dealt and received, and on loot gained from fighting.  So far they haven’t made the effort to get up to their waists in blood.  Also, two of the current characters are multiclassed, which means they need a lot more XP to gain a level than a single classed character.

It’s interesting, having played less than a year’s worth of sessions we have come so far and yet it seems like not terribly far after all. Looking at the time played, we might get just as much game time in by meeting for one Saturday a month, all day.  Something I’ll bring up to the group next game.

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Regarding the Recent Break in Communications

The thirty or so people who follow my blog may have noticed that I haven’t been posting much of anything recently.  There is a reason for this, which I will explain, well, now.

Back in August my wife and I had the distinct pleasure to welcome a third child to our family, a beautiful little girl we named Aderyn.  All was well until early October when she fell terribly ill and had to be hospitalized for a week.  We learned in that very trying week that our perfect baby girl had some rare (1 in 5000) birth defects that were not detected initially by medical personnel, but left her very prone to infections, specifically urinary tract infections.  These “anatomical anomalies” as I have taken to calling them are thankfully treatable with surgery, so that in probably three or four years she will be operating as most other human beings do.

Her first surgery is scheduled for March 28, and in the face of mounting medical bills my wife and I have decided to attempt to defray some of these costs by holding a fundraiser by selling t-shirts through booster.com.  Which brings me to the real point for my message today:  if you would like a handsomely designed t-shirt (a collaboration of my wife and her sister) and support a family against the rising tide of incredibly expensive healthcare procedures at the same time, I would be extremely thankful and humbled if anyone reading this wished to help us out.

The shirt is, in my opinion, a shirt that you would actually feel comfortable wearing (unlike a large number of shirts which prominently display someone’s name and/or debilitating disease which you purchase as a show of support but never ever wear), featuring a cute little owl sitting on the crossbar of a blackletter capital A. It’s a neutral grey shirt as well, for maximum versatility.

So if you want a cool shirt with an owl on, or if you feel driven to help out families in the face of medical bills, please check out our fundraiser at https://www.booster.com/surgery-for-little-bird?type=zoom&side=front. It’s only going to be active for two weeks, so act fast.  Please feel free to share with generous friends, as well.

Thank you.

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Wear and Tear

Everything is subject to entropy. Things wear out, break down, splinter, crack, chip, corrode, dull, and eventually break into so many useless lumps of raw material. Everything, that is, except the gear carried and worn by most PCs.

So my party has been traveling through the Norwegian countryside, and have finally reached a stage of the journey from Canterbury, England to Oslo that requires them to camp. As such, I feel (quite naturally, I believe) that I have not challenged them quite enough to make it actually feel like they are isolated, days from help, and completely dependent on their own wit and logistical skill. Because they are. If something should go terribly wrong, likely one or more of them would die. Even if nothing untoward does happen, by the time they get back to civilization they will be filthy, dirty, smelly, tired, and ready to hole up in a swanky inn for a few days before continuing on. Or at least they should feel that way. I don’t think they will unless I do something to impress upon them that wandering the backcountry is no walk in the park.

So I turned to my usual resource in situations like this, Alexis Smolensk over at his blog, the Tao of D&D. Specifically, a couple of posts titled Breaking Camp and Half Life. He tossed out an idea for the gradual breakdown of gear over time, but didn’t develop it into a full system At the time. But since I’ve been cogitating over a similar subject (primarily with how rapidly clothes deteriorate with constant wear), I figured I’d have a go at fleshing it out a bit.

First, the original premise: each item has a “half life” in days, which may be shortened by extraordinary use, calculated on a sliding scale depending on the durability of the item in question. Second, a character may be more prone to breakage because a random element would be appropriate, and a wisdom check every so often seems like a good way for a character to inadvertently shorten the lifespan of his gear. Alexis also mentioned that some means of restoring lost days to gear could be included.

Now, a table:

So to start, the half life of gear is based on its material and quality of construction. Metal and stone are the most durable. So let’s throw out a number, say, 4000 days for a common metal (or mostly metal) item. That’s a ten year working life, roughly. Even without maintenance, common metal items should last the life of your adventurer.  Stone, being less elastic than metal, we’ll assign a value of 2000 days.  Wood, we’ll say 1000 days.  Leather, 800 days.  Cloth, ceramics and glass, 400 days.  Paper, 100 days.  A common quality suit of clothes should last about a year if well kept.

The point of this half life is, as stated above, to give an indication of how many days any given item can be expected to serve reliably.  Each day an item is put to use, or traveled around with, subtract one day from the half-life of the item.  If an item (such as a spellbook or glass bottles or some other fragile item) is properly stored and packed for travel inside a dedicated case, I would be willing to class that item as “stored,” and not subject to degradation due to travel.  Unless it’s remove from it’s strongbox and put to some use of course.  The case itself, though, would still be subject to such wear.

As to the quality of construction, the cost of higher quality items would indicate that an item so made is more durable and longer lasting than a run-of-the-mill item.  I’ve kept Alexis’ format of pricing multipliers, while adding a “cheapening” option.  The increase in durability isn’t on the same scale as the pricing, as it becomes a game of decreasing returns, as well as accounting for the fact that a lot of cost on the higher end models is accounted for by aesthetics in addition to durability.  A note about the “cheap” models: instead of the standard damage die in case of accident or misuse, two dice would be thrown instead of one.  I know this is “doubling up” on penalties for cheaper materials and construction, but with a base cost of half the normal item, I felt that further reducing the longevity of these items when used outside of everyday activities was justified.

Now about those damage dice.  Every time an item is used for a purpose for which it is not designed, the damage die indicated for the material is rolled, and the result is subtracted from the remaining life of the item.  Further, I would consider combat to be an extraordinary circumstance in any case, and would apply that damage for each round of combat that a weapon or shield is involved in, and once per combat for every item carried or worn externally during a fight.  Possibly more often, if circumstances warrant.  And then, if that isn’t enough, if you wish to target an individual item, each point of regular damage would translate nicely into one damage die per point of damage dealt.  That would also work well for things like fireballs, dragon breath, falling into acid, etc.

Also, I really like the idea of rolling a wisdom check every so often to see if inadvertent mishandling has caused the object in question to deteriorate faster than normal.  Alexis suggests once a day, but I think, to lighten bookkeeping, I’d check once per week.  A failed check would indicated the item took additional damage dice to it’s half-life.

But what about maintenance and repair?  That should be an option, right?  Of course right.  So, let’s say that with the expense of some time, minor materials (needle, thread, wax, oil, tools, etc.) and expertise you can restore days lost to damage or misuse to your poor items.  After 20 minutes working on one item to be maintained, make an Intelligence check (or a craft check, if that’s a thing in your game).  On a success, add a damage die back to the available life of the object +1.  If the intelligence check fails, take that amount away.  Add your craft bonus to the days added, or subtract your craft bonus from the damage dealt.  Cost of materials could be 1% of original price per repair, or some sort of multi-use “kit” could be worked up.  There is only so much maintenance that may be performed on an object however, so each additional 20 minutes spent in a week would impose a (cumulative) -2 penalty to each intelligence check and damage die roll.  Eventually you’d just be replacing finish or stitching unnecessary holes or scrubbing an already clean pair of pants.

Once the item has at long last worn through it’s useful life, and the remaining days equal 0, the item must make a Constitution check each time it is used.  If it fails the check, the item is broken and unusable until it is repaired.  The table indicates the effective Con score for each material type of common construction.  Each step up on the construction quality gives a +1 bonus to this score.  The Con scores for cheap items are at -2.

Once the item is broken, repairing it will take more time and material, as well as money if you don’t have the skills yourself to effectively repair the item yourself.  Exact prices negotiable, but I would lean towards 25% of the original product’s price in material, and that amount again in labor.  Further, since the original item is being used as a base, that raw material is more worn than the new, so any repaired item would have a half life of half it’s original life span.

What role could magic play in all of this? Well first of all, all magic items are of mastercraft quality, so they begin with the highest half life available for items of that material. Second, they will endure more abuse by only ever rolling a d4 damage die, and replace the standard Con score with the spellcasting ability score of its creator if that is higher.

All of that boiling down to yes, your magic items can break, and will, eventually.  Which just means you’ll have to find the magical weaponsmith (or jeweller or whomever) to get your precious things repaired.  And spells?  Well that all depends on the spells you have access to.  There aren’t a whole lot of spells that deal with repairing items, but as a general guide I’d consider them to only work on broken-broken items, or if they restore hit points or something similar, swap in returning damage dice like attacking individual items does.

So what do you think?  Are your PCs going to start breaking their stuff and wearing out their boots? What’s that?  They don’t want to track all of that?  What if I gave you a handy-dandy spreadsheet with all of that information built in?  What then?  Then it’s just a one-time process to put everything in, and then add in new stuff as it comes.  Easy-peasy.  Here’s a link.  I’m sure you are smart enough to figure out how it works.  Feel free to copy and reverse-engineer.  Or just paste it into your Excel- (or Google Sheets) based character sheet.

Wait a minute!  Food!  I forgot to address the issue of food.  Well, almost forgot, anyway.  Food is a special case, because it’s got a half-life of days, not months or years.  And I could work up a separate table for how long various foods last.  Oh, I guess I did.  Here it is:

Half Life Food TableThe categories could use some elucidation.  Hardy produce is everything like carrots, turnips, parsnips etc that can be stored in a root cellar for a while.  Durable hardy produce would be apples or potatoes that can last longer.  Delicate produce would be things like stonefruits, berries, leafy greens, etc.  Durable delicate produce things like citrus fruits or melons.  Hardy dairy would be cultured milk products, butter, thing like that.  Durable hardy dairy is hard cheeses encased in wax or other impermeable rind.  Delicate dairy is fresh milk or cream.  Durable delicate dairy would be soft cheeses, or cottage cheese, perhaps yogurt, and eggs.  Dry goods are flour, meal, cereals etc.  Durable dry goods things like whole grains, rice, seeds.  Fresh meat should be self explanatory, though durable fresh meat would be meat that has been lightly treated with some form of light preservation such as gravlax.  Preserved meat is things like salted meats, durable preserved meats being totally dried like jerky.  Baked goods would be bread, rolls, or cakes, durable baked goods being things like hardtack or crackers.

Foodstuffs lose a day off of their lifespan every day, regardless of whether they are being transported or in storage.  Rough handling or extreme changes in temperature (what constitutes “extreme” will vary by food type) will apply the damage die.   Once the lifespan of the food item has expired, it is spoiled.  If it is eaten after it has spoiled, the character doing the eating has a percent chance to get food poisoning (or other diseases if you want) equal to the number of days since it has spoiled TIMES the percent given.  Thus, four days after delicate dairy has gone off, there is a 100% chance that a character consuming it will get sick.

Cooking food after it has spoiled will reduce this chance to 1/10 of the disease chance, with a minimum of the base percentage.  Note that 100% is not the maximum percentage for the purpose of this calculation, and the percent chance of disease will again increase by the same percentage each day.  Cooking food before it has spoiled will add 1d4 days to the half-life of that item.  Foods made of combined elements will have a half-life of the ingredient with the shortest remaining time after the additional time added from cooking.

The Con score is included in case the food needs to make a save against some magical effect or physical destruction.

So there you have it.  A whole scheme for slowly breaking everything your PCs own.  Now repairs and maintenance will mean something, and your players will be relieved to finally get out of that dungeon and back into town to buy a new pair of pants.

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Horseriding Mishaps

So, I imagine that a lot of PCs ride around on horses at least some of the time.  They are great for quicker long-distance travel, and make excellent platforms to fight from.  But, when was the last time one of those fantastic horses stepped in a hole or threw a shoe?  Horses shouldn’t just be a maintenance-free battle car, there is a reason that only nobles kept horses in the time period most games take place in.  Horses require care, lots of it.

First, the food.  Horses need to eat a lot, and frankly, the grass growing around the roadside just isn’t that great of quality.  Sure, it can keep the beast going through the day, but he also needs some real nutrition to maintain fighting trim.  Oats are called for, or some other “supplement” feed.  Every day.

Grooming is also rather important to keeping horses happy and healthy.  Removing parasites, detangling matted fur/manes, checking for sores under the saddle and straps, each should be done every day to prevent disease and pain in your beast of +1 fast travel.

Now for the meat of the matter.  Riding through difficult terrain.  Taking your horse “off-road” may seem like it would be a natural thing to do, after all, horses are animals, and animals wander all over the place, right?  True, animals go everywhere, but an animal is really suited to one kind of environment, and horses are great on the steppe.  Or they were, when they were smaller, more agile, and used to dealing with untamed grassy flatland every single day of their lives.  But nowadays, and in the days of your PCs as well, horses are bred, kept, trained, and pampered to maximize their usefulness to the human population.  Warhorses are heavy and powerful to cause as much damage as possible on the battlefield, riding horses are lighter (so they eat less), but strong enough to carry a person.  Draft horses are used for carrying or pulling loads along roads.  And each of them are raised in paddocks and trotted out to the pasture for training and exercise.

What happens when you take an animal that has known prepared surfaces all it’s life, and then make it run through wild forestland, over rocks, up mountains, across plowed fields and through deserts?  It’s not going to go so well.  Walking is one thing, of course, but running?  That’s a thousand pounds of horsemeat hurtling along at 25 mph on spindly little legs with not much time to look where each one is being placed.  There’s a pretty decent chance something bad is going to happen to a horse being put through that obstacle course.  Which is where the following table comes in.

Riding HazardsFor each minute spent travel at above a trot (The four speeds of horses being “Walk” “Trot” “Canter” and “Gallop”), roll a percent chance according to the terrain type.  If the chance for a mishap is rolled, then roll a d20 to see what kind of mishap occurs.  Feel free to adjust DCs and checks to suit your game.

Galloping through the woods is not something that is not normally done, and it should feel just as risky as it is in real life.  Please note, however, that galloping on a road is a different matter, as those surfaces are “prepared” in that they are generally well suited to foot and wheeled traffic.  Horses are used to roads, that’s why roads exist.  If it’s raining or the roads are otherwise less suited to traffic than normal, you can roll for the cropland mishap.

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Armor as Damage Reduction

I use armor as damage reduction in my game. Not terribly complex, simple as using the armor class as the damage reduction value. Playing for 8 months with it now, I haven’t had any issues with it (but the highest level any character has gotten in that time is 3rd, it’s kind of slow moving). But I think I will once levels start creeping a little higher.

See, I had the good fortune to be able to add another player recently,and in the process of explaining the armor thing, he asked if there were other ways to increase AC. I still use AC, it’s dex and shields which avoid hits, armor makes them less damaging. Which started me thinking, “Hmm… If AC is going to stay around 12-16 for most characters, BAB is going to become meaningless pretty quick.” So I thought some more and, as is my usual, I devised an elegant solution. Allow players to increase either BAB or a “class defense” bonus every time they would get an increase in BAB.

See, the reason it’s so elegant is 1) I don’t have to rewrite the class tables, 2) it provides another way to customize for the players, and 3) it keeps the balance of to-hit and AC aligned, while maintaining the damage reduction role of the armor.

I realize that keeping pace between to hit and AC will mean fewer attacks per round at higher levels, it also means there is an opportunity to unbalance characters, to focus either on hitting or attacking. Personality in combat through the rules.

But I think it all works.  I’ve kind of intellectually taken issue with the idea of 4 effective attacks in the space of 6 seconds anyhow, so this will also have the effect of making that more realistic, and making combat even more deadly than it has been in my game.

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Dragon Fever

So you’ve all seen the last (finally…) Hobbit movie, right?  The one where Thorin goes half-crazy with greed looking for his gem?  Good, that’s what today’s post is based on.

Dragons.  They’re big, and magical, and scary.  They live for a looooong time, and are wicked, cunning, proud, and greedy.  They probably don’t get along with each other very well for very long, and therefore, it is conceivable that they don’t reproduce like in Game of Thrones.  Perhaps, they are more magical than you originally thought.

Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that dragons are more supernatural than natural.  More magical than mundane.  More outsider than native.  Let us suppose further, that instead of hundreds of dragons roaming around the world, there is one Platonic Dragon hanging around in the aether somewhere, seeding the Material plane with magic that will turn an ordinary mortal into a vessel for the Platonic Dragon’s will.

What does all that have to do with Thorin jumping off the deep end?  A little something I’ve come up with called Dragon Fever.

Dragon Fever is a magical disease, spread by contact with dragons or dragon’s hoards.  It first drives a subject mad, and then slowly transforms the afflicted into a dragon.  And, since it is primarily connected with the hoard of the dragon, it works as a sort of backup measure if some mighty hero should manage to slay a dragon.

For each day spent in/around a dragon’s hoard, a character must make a will save with a DC equal to the number of hit dice the dragon who owned it possessed.  Thus, a red wyrm’s hoard will have a Will save DC of 37.  Failure indicates the character has been infected with the magical disease.

After infection, the disease begins to progress rapidly.  A Will save must be made each day against the same DC as the original save.  Failure indicates the subject takes 1 Wisdom damage as the Platonic Dragon floods the victim with dragonish thoughts. This damage persists as long as the disease infects the victim.  Succeeding on 4 saves in a row will mean the character has fought off the disease and will begin regaining their lost Wisdom score at the normal rate.

Spells cast on the victim of Dragon Fever which directly affect the disease or the effects thereof must succeed on a Caster level check to beat the SR of the original dragon.

If a character is reduced to 0 Wisdom by the disease, the character’s soul is then severed from the body and the spirit of the Platonic Dragon invades the body and begins transforming it into a true dragon.  At this point the original character is considered dead, and may only be raised by a Reincarnation or True Resurrection spell.  A Wish or Miracle may be used to evict the Platonic Dragon for a time, in which an ordinary Resurrection or Raise Dead spell will work to restore the deceased to life.

The disease is insidious, however, as the victim will seem to recover, regaining wisdom slowly, and returning to a somewhat altered version of the original personality.  What is in fact happening is the magic of the Platonic Dragon is working through the mind of the vessel as a defense mechanism and mimicking the personality of the victim.  The charade will be maintained long enough for the dragon to secure isolation to complete the transformation.  The vessel’s ability scores will (at the rate of one point per day) shift towards the stats for a dragon of the same size as the infected creature. Over this time, the creature’s appearance will slowly change into a more and more draconic form, which transformation will be complete when the ability scores have finished shifting.  Then the dragon is wholly draconic, and not even a Wish or Miracle will banish the draconic mind from the body.

Does that make dragons a little scarier?  I hope so…

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Excitement

I’m resuming my “serious” campaign today.  I’m excited.  It’s been a month now (we paused for my wife to recover from having a baby(!)), and we’ve only “skipped” two sessions (since we go every other week or so), and we played our regular (weekly) Sunday night Sliders game for two weeks now, but it still feels like forever.

I’m excited.  I’m excited to get back into the world.  I’m excited to see what my players do in my world.  We wrapped up their first dungeon in my world rather nicely just before the baby came, so there aren’t any loose end that will take getting used to hindering re-integration.  A fresh start, the players with shiny new levels (in most cases), and flush with new-won gold.  Ready to set off again towards their goal.

I didn’t even do a whole lot to gear back up, just checked the weather and refamiliarized myself with the terrain and current events.  But it’s been a while since I’ve really been inside the workings of my world, and I realized I miss it.  So I’m excited to get back in.  Just a taste is enough to get me hungry, apparently.

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Random Book Generator!

Today I present to you a book generator based on the numbers produced by Mr. Smolensk at the Tao of D&D on his article “Books.”  Now, as this is purely a list of book subjects/categories and not actual titles, you will have to make up titles and authors for any books you generate.  I’m sure you can think up something if you are clever enough to enjoy worldbuilding.  On to the generator and how to use it!

It’s set up on a single Google Sheet page, so you don’t have to go mucking about with any tabs or anything.  Simply refresh the page to generate a new number in the “Roller” box, and look up the number on the accompanying table.  Example: if you roll a 628, you want to find the number in the “Roll (up to)” column that is just over 628, which happens to be 642, Missions and Missionaries in the Religion category.  Then, you will notice that the number next to the Roll (up to) column is colored.  Go back up to the top, and refer to the number in the correspondingly colored box under the Rarity Table heading.  This will be a random number between 1 and 100.  Find the indicated percentage in the same row as the colored box, and the column heading will give you the rarity of the book you generated.  See my post about the Function of a Library for more on the rarity of books (and their uses).  Missions and Missionaries happens to be a blue box, so we look at the Blue box on the Rarity Table, see it is 98, and referring to the numbers in that row, we find that we have a common book about missions or missionaries.

Figuring out how much these books are worth is completely up to you, and should depend on how rare books are in general in your world, and how much value you place on the bonus to Knowledge checks they confer.

Random books can be found in treasure stashes of nobles or wizards, or you could generate the stock of a bookseller in your world.  If you run across a subject that is too advanced for the technology of your world, I suggest making it a book on a similar subject, but from a magical or alchemical perspective.

Enjoy!

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Called Shots

Something of a Holy Grail, per se, of D&D combats in my experience is a workable, simple called shot system.  I have worked up the following and think that it’s really quite simple, with a decent risk-reward balance and appropriate deference given to higher level characters.


A called shot is a full round action that targets a specific part of an opponent’s body. Called shots may be declared against any non-amorphous corporeal opponent.

To perform a called shot, a player first declares his intention to call the shot (called “Calling the Shot”). Then an attack roll is made against the defender’s normal AC. If successful, he then rolls the called shot percentage, which is 5% for every point of Base Attack Bonus of the attacker, minus 5% per point of AC bonus if armor is worn over the called out body part.

If the attacker rolls over the Called Shot Percentage he misses, is overbalanced, and cannot attack next round. If he rolls under the percentage he may roll critical damage. If the damage rolled (after the armor’s damage reduction is applied) is greater than or equal to 25% of the target’s total HP, refer to the following table.

Called Shot TableOther effects may occur based on local conditions.


Obviously, you can make modifications as you see fit, but I will offer some modifications for various flavors.

If you prefer, instead of using Base Attack Bonus to drive the CSPercentage, you can opt to use character level instead (this option might be attractive for you 5e folks).

Or, to make the table more deadly, you may opt to increase (or decrease) the table percentage roll by up to the level of the character making the attack.

So there you have it: called shots in a small, easy-to-swallow pill form.  You’re welcome.

EDIT: Changed armor reduction from material-dependent to straight up AC conversion.

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Non-Vancian Class: Elementalist

The last entry on the Urbanekovian Magic system for a while.  Finishing this class up has exhausted my ideas about it for the time being.

Please refer to the intro piece first for more information about the spellcasting system this class makes use of.

Ability Scores:

Minimum score: Wis 16

10% XP bonus: Wis 18+

Hit die:

d6

Class Skills:

Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (Planes), Profession, Spellcraft

Skill proficiencies:

4 at first level, plus one additional every 4 levels above first

Table: The Elementalist

Level BAB Fort Ref Will Special Primary Element Secondary Element Tertiary Element Quartenary Element Pentenary Element
1 +0 +0 +2 +2 Magesight, familiar +3
2 +1 +0 +3 +3 +4
3 +1 +1 +3 +3 +5
4 +2 +1 +4 +4 Secondary Element +5 +1
5 +2 +1 +4 +4 +6 +2
6 +3 +2 +5 +5 +7 +3
7 +3 +2 +5 +5 Tertiary Element +7 +3 +1
8 +4 +2 +6 +6 +8 +4 +2
9 +4 +3 +6 +6 +9 +5 +3
10 +5 +3 +7 +7 Quartenary Element +9 +5 +3 +1
11 +5 +3 +7 +7 +10 +6 +4 +2
12 +6/+1 +4 +8 +8 +11 +7 +5 +3
13 +6/+1 +4 +8 +8 Pentenary Element +11 +7 +5 +3 +1
14 +7/+2 +4 +9 +9 +12 +8 +6 +4 +2
15 +7/+2 +5 +9 +9 +13 +9 +7 +5 +3
16 +8/+3 +5 +10 +10 +14 +10 +8 +6 +4
17 +8/+3 +5 +10 +10 +15 +11 +9 +7 +5
18 +9/+4 +6 +11 +11 +16 +12 +10 +8 +6
19 +9/+4 +6 +11 +11 +17 +13 +11 +9 +7
20 +10/+5 +6 +12 +12 +18 +14 +12 +10 +8

Bonus SP:

If the Elementalist has a Wisdom of 17, she gains an additional SP per level, assignable to any element’s pool that she currently has access to.  If the Elementalist has a Wisdom of 18, she gains two extra SP, each assignable to any elemental SP pool that the Elementalist currently has access to.

Class Abilities:

Armor and Weapon proficiencies:

Elementalists begin with 2 weapon proficiencies chosen from the following list: club, dagger, hammer, quarterstaff, sling, handaxe.  A new weapon proficiency is gained every 4 levels above 1st.  They are not proficient with armor or shields.

Magesight:

An Elementalist has the ability to sense the flow of thaum through the world.  By spending one spell point, she may open her mind to see this flow directly.  She may leave this Magesight open as long as she desires, but prolonged exposure to the true nature of the world will have serious repercussions on the mind of the Elementalist.  Everything seen via Magesight is indelibly imprinted in the memories of the Elementalist, and can never be expunged by any means short of death.  For every minute spent viewing dark energies or creatures, a wisdom check must be made.  A failed check means the Elementalist has permanently lost one point of wisdom.

Familiar:

Being attuned to the natural world, the Elementalist will be especially attractive to certain members of the natural world.  In particular, a single unusually intelligent specimen (Int. of 4, and able to understand the Elementalist’s native language) of the avian, canine, feline, or rodent family will attach itself to the Elementalist, regardless of the attitude of the Elementalist.  The animal will simply appear one day, and refuse to leave.  It will not force it’s company upon the Elementalist, but will stay closer if fed or shown affection.  If the familiar is ignored by the Elementalist, it will follow at a distance, and be seen perhaps once a week, occasionally leaving gifts near the personal effects of the Elementalist.  A befriended familiar will act much as a ranger or druid’s animal companion.  However, the ignored familiar will still have an uswerving loyalty to its chosen master, and will attack any being who seems to be imminently threatening the life of the Elementalist.  Additionally, it will appear in serendipitous moments as it is able to provide distraction, misdirection, cover, or any other service a cunning animal might provide.  If the familiar is slain, a new one will appear unbidden after approximately one year.

Spellcasting:

Elementalists draw upon the variations the thaumflow has as it flows through the basic elements in the Material Plane.  These elements are Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit.  At the beginning of his career, the Elementalist is able to channel the thaum as it flows through a single element.  As her power increases, she is able to master more elements.  Which elements she focuses on is up to her, though at least two elements must be mastered before she may begin mastering Spirit.  The “carrying capacity” of spell points is exponential, i.e. if 1 SP can lift one pound, 2 SP can lift 2, 3 SP can lift 4, 4SP can lift 8, and so on.

  • Air – controls gasses, both native atmospheric gasses and other “heavier” chemical gasses.  May be used to manipulate light objects, condense liquids out of vapor phase (creating fog or dew), and at increased power levels, deal damage and mimic weather effects.

1 SP will allow the Elementalist to move a 1 lb object within Close range, create a light fog bank of 5 cu. ft., or deflect projectiles of 1 oz or lighter (with sufficient warning).

  • Fire – controls or creates flames or fire, and increases the temperature of objects or areas.  Flames so conjured are of a magical as well as physical nature, and thus are able to harm creatures of the magical world.  Continuing fires lit by these magical flames are not so spiritually endowed.

1 SP will deal 1d6 fire damage to a touched target, or warm 1 lb of material 10 degrees.

  • Water – controls any liquid, whether water-containing or not.

1 SP will move 1 cu. ft. of touched water (approx. 7 gallons) up to 5 feet, or sense the location of Small or larger creatures within 20 feet which are submerged in a body of water.

  • Earth – controls stone, dirt, metals, or any other non-organically derived solid matter. May be used to change shape, strength, compositional arrangement, induce/remove magnetism in appropriate materials or other effects.

1 SP will make a 1 lb piece of steel lightly magnetic (able to pick up smaller pieces of metal, but unable to support it’s own weight on a larger iron/steel surface), or manipulate the shape of 1 cu. ft of metal/stone.

  • Spirit – controls/manipulates life force/living matter.  May be used to track, heal, harm, hide, control or manipulate living beings.  Several large scale organizations (international in scope) probably exist to regulate how this element is manipulated by Elementalists.

1 SP may be used to locate the source (raw direction only) of a piece of organic material for 1 minute, or deal 1 point of damage to a touched living creature.

Harnessing the Elements:

Certain natural activities create a buildup of available thaum in some locations that an Elementalist may tap into to power his spells.  Storms generate Air energy, sex (and other intense human emotions) generates Spirit energy, earthquakes generate Earth energy, volcanoes and large fires generate Fire energy, and tsunamis and fast-flowing water generate Water energy.

As much energy as is desired may be tapped by the elementalist from events such as thunderstorms, eruptions, tsunamis and the like.  Spirit energy generated during moments of intense human emotion is equal to half the total HP of the individual with the most HP in the group experiencing the same emotion, multiplied by the number of individuals simultaneously experiencing the emotional high (or low).

Harnessing a large amount of raw Elemental energy can be dangerous, however.  An Elementalist may safely harness up to his level in environmental SP.  If he taps more than his level, he suffers nonlethal damage per additional point of environmental up to his level again.  Above this limit, each additional point of additional SP inflicts 1 point of damage per SP harnessed.  Thus a 12th level Environmentalist could safely tap 12 SP from a thunderstorm, and a further 12 SP (taking 12 points of nonlethal damage), and up to his current hit points (say, about 60), for a total of 84 SP.  After tapping environmental SP, the Elementalist must wait a number of rounds equal to the point total tapped before he may attempt to channel any more environmental energy, as the local supply has “dried up.”

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