Saturday, August 15, 2015

Brute of Burden & Brute Rider

Two new, complimentary Race as Class sort-of-things. Totally copped from Arnold, here.

[He made me do this…]

This is written with LotFP in mind. Season to taste.

Brute of Burden
A Brute of Burden is any hulking, vaguely man shaped thing, which is willing(ish) to be ridden around by a small demanding creature (the Brute Rider). They usually stand between 7’ and 8’ tall and weigh 350-450 lbs (so like bear/ogre sized). They require 3x the normal allotment of food and water. Your brute can be whatever you think is cool.

I’ve been on a “classes should get three things, and only three things” kick lately.

Gremlin and Huge Sea Urchin

Here are the four things Brutes get:

1 | Brutally Stupid
The Brute’s Strength Modifier is considered to be 2 points higher than it otherwise would have been. If you use stat checks, make the Brute’s Str. score the minimum necessary to get that modifier. Max of 19.
The Brute’s Intelligence Modifier is considered to be 2 points lower than it otherwise would have been. If you use stat checks, make the Brute’s Int. score the maximum necessary to get that modifier. Min of 2. 2 Int. indicates the Brute is barely vocal. Grunt. Point. Monosyllables.

2 | Meat Slab
1d8+6 serves as the Brute’s Hit Dice. However, because of his/her/its ponderous size, the Brute has a base AC of 10.

While Specialty barding could be constructed, it would be prohibitively expensive and probably unnecessary.

During battle, the Brute can choose to forcibly remove ANY corporeal combatant so long as that combatant is the Brute’s size or smaller. (Bear, Bugbear, Giant Bug: Yes. Dragon, Titan, Kraken: No.) The Brute takes the combatant out somewhere where the Brute doesn’t have to worry about SMASHING everyone else, and tries to murder the thing or person. The Rider should dismount.

The Brute has a 40%+(10%/Level) chance of being successful in the murder, and a 40%(+10%/Level) chance of surviving the attempt. Nothing is resolved until the Rider Calls (see below) for his/her Brute.

Should the Rider elect to stay mounted, the murder chance increases by 10%, but both Rider and Brute must roll to survive (separately, each have the same chance). In this case, the survivors return to the rest of the Party in 1d12 minutes.

All which survive the ordeal turn up with 1 HP and have seen some crazy shit.


3 | Bear Hug
Brute of Burden gets two, unarmed 1d4 attacks each round. If both attacks hit, the victim is held by the Brute. So long as the victim is held, the Rider gets an automatic attack against the victim (just roll damage). To escape, the victim must successfully attack the Brute AND the Brute must miss an attack. Brute's attacks only hold the victim. He/she/it must use both attacks each round for Bear Hugging.

Other Stuff. Advances as Dwarf. Saves are 18 on everything except Poison, which is 13. Poison save goes down by 1 every odd level: lvl 3 = 12, lvl 5 = 11, etc. Standard Non-fighter +1 BAB.

Suggested Brutes:

“Intelligent” Bear (easily distracted by food, head may become stuck in honeypot…)
Dogheaded Piebald Ape (despite grotesque appearance demands polite treatment)
Leathery Slug-thing (tentacle-ish arms, salt causes 1d4 damage, can’t be tripped, preachy vegetarian, torpid disposition)
Boring Red Ogre (has some boring hobby, will not shut up about it)
Huge Sea Urchin (pink flamingo legs, bald spot for riding, no arms [body slam attack], eats algae, always psychically blathering about eating algae)

Brute Rider
A Brute Rider is any diminutive, vaguely humanoid thing that has learned how effectively ride around on bigger folks. They are between 3½’ and 4½’ tall, typically on the scrawny side. Most sport unusually well developed thigh muscles. Riders must wield medium weapons in both hands, with the exception of spears, javelins, and very light lances while mounted.

Things Riders Get:

1 | Brute Riding
Riders are capable of riding any willing creature of a Brutish size. Unwilling thinking beings CANNOT be controlled. Unwilling beings of animal intelligence may be ridden: the Rider must make two successful Ridding Attacks in a row. (Treat as normal attacks which do no damage. First attack gets the rider mounted. Second attack gets him/her seated well enough to hold on until the Brute accepts the new arrangement. Getting bucked does 1d4 damage to Rider [i.e. missing on the second Riding Attack].) Unwilling intelligent Brutes can be ridden but not controlled.

While mounted on a Brute, Riders get +1 to hit and +2 to AC.

The loyalty of an animal intelligence Brute is dependent upon how well they are treated.

2 | Call Brute –
If the Rider currently has a loyal Brute, the Rider can summon his/her Brute from up to 1 mile away by making an appropriate vocalization/noise. (Whistling, grunting, striking a gong, blowing a special conch, screaming “Here Boy!”, etc.) If the Brute is currently DESTROYing someone, the brute arrives in 1d6 minutes; otherwise, the Brute simply gets there ASAP.

3 | Brute Mounted Maneuvers
  • Leaping Dismount – Riders can instantly dismount and bound up to 10’ away from their Brutes. This adds 4+1/lvl to any saves where getting the fuck back would be useful. Dismount is declared before the save is rolled... Seriously, Brute Riders’ legs are like crazy strong.
  • Goad Brute – This Maneuver requires the Rider to sacrifice his/her/its attack for the round. The Rider knows just how to push the Brute into a wild swinging frenzy, +1 to hit +2 to damage on Brute’s attack. However, if the Brute misses, the opponent gets an automatic attack (just roll damage).
  • Meat Shield – This maneuver requires the consent of a loyal Brute. Once per combat, any blow that would have landed on the Rider can instead be taken by the Brute. Must be declared before the damage is rolled.
Other Stuff. Advances as Halfling. 1d6 HD (2 min starting HP). Saves are 17 on everything except Paralysis, which is 14. Paralysis save goes down by 1 every odd level: lvl 3 = 13, lvl 5 = 12, etc. Standard Non-fighter +1 BAB.

Suggested Brute Riders:

Gremlin (spiny, big nose, loudly complains about everything)
Shrimpy Goblin (exactly as advertised)
Space Baby (crown of antennas grows from big baby head, born to rule, glows slightly, eats silver)
Fairy Cursed Giant (very bitter about small size, terrible Napoleon complex, incredibly petty)
Rogue Brownie (kicked out of the brownie union, will not help with chores, scandalous alcoholic)


It’s pretty much assumed that both of these classes will be in use at the same time, at least until somebody dies. They’re complimentary, but one does not necessitate the other. I like that.

The relationship dynamic between the PCs will probably become really interesting. It could easily grow antagonistic or more cooperative through play. That’s nice.

I really hope that if these twin classes get used, people come up with weird-fun rider/brute combinations. I totally want to know if yous guys do.

Are you happy, +Arnold K.?


So I've added a tip jar to the blog, in the form a Patreon Campaign.

If you've gotten any worth out of these monsters and stuff, please consider donating. Any amount would be greatly appreciated and help to ensure I am able to keep doing this.


Edward "[makes fart noise with mouth]" Lockhart

Friday, July 17, 2015

“The Quickly Equipped MurderHobo” b/w Escaped Prisoners

It, like all RPG products, is a series of ideas to help provide you & the people you game with a good time. Seeing as “The Quickly Equipped MurderHobo” (the QEM) is a pdf release, it’s pretty much the only use for it. (I can still use my 2e splatbooks to level out wobbly chairs, for instance, in addition to mining them for ideas.)

In particular, the QEM thing is a method for easily outfitting a level 1 murderhobo, by choosing from Kits of basic wilderness, dungeoneering, and/or murder equipment. Plus a few further choices and random charts to help differentiate characters with the same kit. Each starting character has: a silver penny, a sack, a small water flask, a crust of bread, and the stuff detailed within one of the Equipment Kits.

This is meant to replace the you have 3d6xMoney now buy stuff from list method. Just pick or roll for a kit; roll on a chart or two; start playing. I’ve tried to further expedite things by putting all the kits into print and cut chits to avoid tedious notation; the scholar and barber-surgeon kits, for example, contain a lot of shit.

For many of us, this will be more useful as a concept rather than my particular kit ideas. The PDF containing the print and cut chits has a form-fillable page. Maybe this will encourage folks that otherwise might not do so to make their own kits. Maybe it’ll make the whole thing marginally more useful. Maybe.

I think the best things in the QEM are the Occupation Kits. Figuring out how to adventure with baking supplies and farming implements is the best kind of fun. (There are also very simple rules for improvised weapons and armor to help with this.)

A multipage preview is totally available at any of the many links throughout this post. [CLICK HERE]

And now for something new...
An example of an equipment kit, which does not appear in “The Quickly Equipped MurderHobo”

In lieu of the abovementioned standard items, escaped slaves and/or prisoners ONLY have what’s detailed below.

Escaped Prisoner/Slave Equipment Kit
Tattered Tunic, Rope Belt, Broken Manacles, Improvised Sack.

Rusty Knife or Cobbled-together Shield (lasts 1d6 battles) or Embroidered Silk Kerchief (1gp).

Flint & Tinder & Candle or Several Stale Crusts of Bread (2 days worth) or Silver Spoon (worth 12sp).

Waterskin or Heavy Pickaxe or Grain Flail or Bottle of Well Aged Brandy(20sp).

It should be interesting to see whether players choose safety, defense, necessities, or valuables (which might be traded for the other things later).

A fun campaign could be kicked off, with a group of escaped slaves/prisoners:

A plan was hatched to meet at a certain point and make their escape, but the brief nature of the PCs’ interactions prohibited logistical planning beyond this. Each player must make their equipment choices blind to what the other players have done. Now, everybody has to make do with what they’ve managed to arrive at the meeting place with…

So ya, there’s something fun even if you think my Equipment book is dumb.

Anyway, Buy my book!… or don’t. I’m not the boss of you.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Monster of Existential Despair

The Seeking Unseen

It does not understand. It is not from this place. It blindly gropes for warmth in the dark.

Light does not touch it. The creature cannot see because of this. It is scared, and it is alone in unbearable darkness.

When it senses the soft radiant warmth of a living thing, it reaches out in desperation. Its wet caress is unrelentingly caustic.

If it is struck, the creature hisses forth with a piteous and gurgling cry. Such a doleful scream of absolute abandoned hope, it can wrench tears from adamantine hearts.

The frightened thing will then flee, if possible towards the security of the next nearest soft, warm, and living thing.

The Seeking Unseen does not understand. It cannot understand.

Should enough dust and detritus become stuck to the invisible creature, it will be revealed to be an amorphous thing, vaguely bell-shaped and the size of a small calf. It sends out slow, seeking pseudopods before rapidly flowing into them.

The sad, Seeking Unseen will not cease in its accidental ruin. It is little more than a frightened child; it does not understand.

LotFP Stats:
Armor 12, Move 40′, 3 Hit Dice, Caustic Touch 1d12 damage, Morale 2. Invisible (-6 to hit), though objects touching it remain visible. The creature can eventually fit through any opening of at least 3″ square.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Savage Worlds: Murder-lite Edition

Click HERE to grab the Index Card Character Sheet PDF

How to make your person:

1.      Look at the character sheet. You have two skills already chosen for you already. Those are Murder and Shooting.
a.       Murder means how rough and tumble and good at killing stuff with swords and shit you are.
b.      Shooting means how good you are at shooting things.

2.      Figure out three other skills your person would be good at. Like Insurance Actuary or Olympic Swimming or Fire Magic or Hoverbike Riding or Alien Language Hearing or whatever. I don’t know what sort of game you’re in. Fuck. Three skills will be at d8. One skill will be at d6. One skill will be at d4. Figure that shit out. Bigger dice mean your person will be better at doing shit.
a.       If a skill is really broad, you can’t begin with it at more than a d6 (except Murder and Shooting). For instance, the skill “Boating” is broad. The skill “Owns a Bass Boat” is not.

3.      If you just have to be extra special, leave both Murder and Shooting at d4. Then you can replace one of your assigned d8s with a d10.

4.      Decide: What the hell is wrong with your character?

5.      Decide: What makes you character such a special fucking snowflake?

6.      Note that your person is “Not Hurt, Yet” on the Damage Track.

7.      Decide what reasonable stuff your person has with the GM.

8.     Figure what your person looks like and a name or whatever.

9.      Your person is now ready for murdering.

How to do stuff:

When trying to do stuff, pick an appropriate skill and roll that die. If you roll a 4 or better, your person does the thing you want.

You are a special snowflake so you also get to roll a “Wild Die.” This is a d6. If it is higher than the other die, you can use this roll instead.

If you have no relevant skills, you can roll a d4 (and your “Wild Die”) at -2 on each.

Dice explode. If you roll the max # on a die, you can roll that die again and add them together.

If you roll an 8 or more, you succeed with a raise. Normally this just means that you succeed really hard. Sometimes it means something more specific than that.

You get two Bennies per session. These are special physical tokens you turn over to the GM to be even more special. You can spend one to get to reroll a crappy roll. You can also spend one to declare, “It just so happens I have this totally useful, but mundane, item which we need…” and have that statement be true. Oh yah, you can also spend one to not be Shaken (more on that later). Finally, you spend one to move up one step on the damage track.

If your person’s “What the hell is wrong with my character?” thing comes up and you don’t have your person act like that thing is a problem for him/her, everyone should deride you for not playing along.

If your person’s “Special Snowflake” thing is pertinent, you can act like you’ve got a Bennie to spend without actually spending one.

How to kill stuff:

When murder is happening, it is important to know who is doing what when. Everybody draw a card. Pretend you are playing poker, and everybody acts in order from ace down to two. Jokers stay in and they are wild. If you have a joker you can interrupt somebody. That’s totally annoying and totally fun.

To attack: Roll your person’s Murder or Shooting, a success means the other guy/gal is hit. Mooks are out with one hit. Important bad guys/gals have a Damage Track like characters.

Shooting automatically happens first if the guy/gal/thing being shot is more than 21 feet away.

When somebody is damaged that is not a Mook, they move one step down on the damage track. 

On the Damage Track: 

  • Armor means the armor helped and nothing bad has happened yet. 
  • Ouch means you are hurt a bit, but it is no big deal yet. 
  • Damn! means that you are wounded kind of bad; -1 penalty to doing stuff. 
  • Shit! means you are wounded super bad; -2 to doing stuff and your person will die if nothing is done. Get some bandages. Take a breather. Drink some whiskey. 
  • Fuck! means that you are like super close to dead, you are Shaken (see below) until healed. 
  • Dead! means your guy/gal is dead.

A few minutes to chill will remove the Armor portion of the damage track, assuming your Person is actually wearing armor. An hour of rest will remove a check from the Ouch box. Reasonable but unskilled medical attention, a day of rest, and a successful Murder roll will remove a check from the Damn! box. Skilled medical care and a week of rest will uncheck the the Shit! box. One month of skilled medical care and total rest will uncheck the Fuck! box.

The damage track tells you when you will be Shaken. When Shaken, your person is like freaked out or got the wind knocked out of him/her or something. You can only move or try to not be Shaken when your person is Shaken. To not be Shaken, make a successful Murder roll. Not being Shaken anymore 
does not remove damage.

Minutia about Killing and Doing Stuff:

  • If you attack without a weapon, roll a die one step down.
  • If  an attack succeeds with a Raise, the victim goes two steps down on the Damage Track.
  • GMs will impose penalties between -1 and -4 for doing stuff that is like really hard. GMs are dicks like that.
  • If your Person is not wearing armor, mark out the Armor box on the Damage track and just, like, pretend it isn’t there.
  • If magic can attack something, treat it just like shooting or murder. Really powerful magic or psionics or laser-eyes should probably like hurt the character or be fueled by bennies or something.

Getting Better at Stuff:

At the end of a session, if your character did something everyone agrees was awesome: then your person can learn a new skill at d4 or raise his/her lowest skill.

Notes for GMs:

Monsters and Obstacles should totally break these rules. Make stuff exciting and give players lots of room to make bad decisions.

Assume Mooks do everything at d6 unless it seems like they’d be bad at it.

If there is no way to do a thing, don’t let people roll dice.

Have fun and try to give the players many interesting problems.

Make sure to get some murdering in if you can.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Waxy Rock Trolls

 “That’s right, buddy. Breathe deep. I will always be near you now…”

Being the worst combination of Troll and Drug Pusher, Waxy Rock Trolls obviously hang about under bridges. Actually there may just be one of them, and he’s usually under that stone bridge. It’s the one over by the Refuge in the neon poppy plains.

(And that fucking crystal river is dangerous, yo. DO NOT EAT THE FISH!)

Anyway, he charges a toll to use his bridge. It’s real simple, really. You gotta prove you’re cool and smoke with him. Thing is, you’re smoking his skin, and he will totally be creepy about it.
He’ll say things like: “Dude, now I’m inside you.” “How does it feel, buddy? It feels good, yah? Oh, I know it feels good.”

What does he look like? Oh, yah. Guess that’d be useful. Fucking spaced for a minute there. He looks sort of like a skinny bear, standing on its hind legs. His paws are like totally huge but oddly deft. Oh, and he is like covered completely in waxy, pearlescent crystals.

If you do smoke with him, you’ll feel like crazy good. Like you’re flying on a bed made outta orgasms. You can move like way too fast and everything makes sense (always acts first).

That lasts for like 15 minutes then you’re totally trashed for like 8 hours (-4 on all actions). I mean feeling like worthless fucking death, dude. It’s cool though because he’ll always send you away with a little care package of concentrated skin crystals. You smoke that and you’ll be spun and feeling fine for a few hours more.

Whenever you stop smoking for more than a few hours, you’ll stark sweating wisdom rocks. This is no big; it’s just your soul coming out of your pores. (Lose 1d6 Wisdom). If you smoke it, you should feel a bit better, and you might just nip a little extra soul straight outta the fire. (Gain 1d6 Wisdom).

If you smoke the Troll, he will always be able to talk to you. Whenever. Wherever.

Mostly he just wants to sell you some rocks. And he can get them to you, too. No matter how far or how many planes of reality separate you, the Troll can whisper in your ear and turn any object near you into a waxy rock. All it’ll cost you is a bit of your time (age 1d12 years [1d100 years if it’s a really big object]).

Oh and the comedown gets BAD, after a while.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

A long time ago I was going to run a game of D&D (2E) with the lady who is now my wife. (Her first game in fact.) She immediately picked up the Monstrous Manual. This of course made her want to play an Elven Cat. I said no because I was only allowing humanoid characters at the time. (I had some bad ideas about character balance and immersion.)

So I made a race-as-class thing for her for Mother's Day.

Click Through To Get the PDF!

(Special thank you to +Brian Wille+Terry Olson, and +Matthew Adams for helping me to spitball some ideas!)

I guess you can look at it, even if you are not a mom.

Click the cat to BECOME the cat.

It was written for my homebrew armor rules; replace the +2 ArmorHP thing with +1 AC. Otherwise it should be good to go.

And an even BIGGER thanks to a splendiferous wife/mom, Sharaya Lockhart!

Peaceout, beansprouts.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

On Armor and Whiffing

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Seriously, this has been bouncing around in my skull for a while now.

I don’t really like AC.

Well, it works just fine, but it’s more abstract than I’d prefer. Chainmail makes people whiff more? I know, I know: you can narrate close misses by attributing them to the armor. That is, of course, if you remember to do it that way in the middle of play while keeping track of a whole bunch of other shit. I often didn’t.

There’s another “problem”, though. The normal ablative armor tactic of damage reduction often gets forgotten at the table. At least, it gets forgotten at my table. My simulationist game, Grit, had/has* this type of ablative armor. I’ve ran shittons of Grit, and even very frequent players forgot damage reduction with an alarming (and deadly) frequency.

I think I have the solution, though. This is one thing Rifts got totally right. Armor is HP. (Not super-dooper MEGA-HP, but still.)

Your armor is an additional layer of hit points, which refreshes with each new battle.

Reasons I like this:

1.      It tracks, well enough, with what armor actually does.

2.      Tracking HP is already an ingrained in established players and easy to understand for new playes.

3.      Critical Hits are now hits that bypass armor and fuck you up straight to your meat HP. (My current rule is that any hit that lands on 19-20 is a critical hit. Armor piercing weapons extend this range to 17-20. Not wearing a helmet extends critical range down by 1.)

4.      It’s really easy to tack equipment degeneration onto this. (After a battle in which armor has been reduced to zero HP, that armor is now permanently 1 HP less effective. Repairs cost like ¼ to ½ of full price armor. Alternatively a character can improvise repairs in ways that make sense. They can only do it once though before the armor has to be taken to somebody who knows what the fuck they’re doing.)

5.      Lots of missing gets boring as fuck.

6.      Magical Armor or Dwarf Armor or Elf Armor or Whatever can get extra HP in addition to 
whatever cool thing it should do.

7.      It’s my idea.

Some other stuff you should know:

1.      I pretty much treat Hit-Points as Don’t-Get-Hit-Points because that makes the most sense to me, and all the cool kids are doing it. Hits are usually very minor bruises, lacerations, and abrasions. Going to 1 HP means you’re actually injured, 0 HP is some bad shit, and -1 HP means you’re basically dead.

2.      I usually run Lamentations of the Flame Princess so that’s what this is written with consideration to.

3.      Only Dexterity or Magic would affect your armor class which I’m now calling your Defense Number.

4.      I threw together this character sheet.

Click for PDF in all it's hasty Mediocrity...

5.      Shields should usually break first and typically can’t be repaired (but should be easy to improvise).

6.      It worked ok in actual play so far.

The Hit Points of Various Armors:

Buckler | 1 HP
Shield | 2 HP
Buffcoat or Arming Doublet | 2 HP
Cuir Bouilli Armors | 3 HP
Chain Mail or Lamellar | 5 HP
Transitional Plate Mail | 6 HP
Plate Mail | 8 HP

*I haven't played or worked on it in a long while.