Friday, August 28, 2015

Elemental Horror

Elementalism harrows and takes toll beyond the price of any other path to power. To earn power over stone, one must be fully subsumed in it. The same is true for fire, water, and wind.

The process remains brutally literal. 
Pyromancers self-immolate. Geomancers have been crushed beneath rockslides or buried alive. All hydromancers have drowned. Cruelest, slowest, and rarest of all, aeromancers strip naked to the sky and cold wind. There they slowly succumb to exposure.
Those few willing students typically are taught to cast all doubts from their minds, that only pure surety can save them.

These are lies. Surety can be burnt, crushed, washed free, and carried away on the wind. It is that nagging kernel of doubt which keeps the wizard living.
Too much doubt and there can be no apotheosis. Too little doubt, and one adds only fuel to the elemental conflagration which surrounds and consumes.
But, when all that is left is that perfect scarred seed of unsurety, from that tiny piece will grow the wizard.
Little of the person usually remains.
- From the scattered notes of Bleak Freygan, the only known Master of every form of elementalism, scratched into the margins of a book of sonnets.

Aeromancer about to loose his shit entirely...

Know your elemental wizards:

Water Elementalists

Waterlogged flesh bloats and distends, quivering whenever the wizard moves slowly forward. Rotted meat and softened skin burst readily, though no blood will flow from a hydromancer’s wounds unless he/she wills it or is very distracted. These wizards will always look damp, of course.

Hydromancers tend to move and think with slow, free-flowing madness. Like almost all elementalists, their minds are fractured. In particular, they had too much time to regret their life decisions while their desperate lungs painfully begged for air and their skin screamed alarum at the enveloping liquid.

Most inconveniences are flowed past without issue. However, the harder the wizard is pushed against, the faster, more relentless, and particular his drives become. Like a stream charging through a rock-strewn canyon, it is easy for odd, half-remembered obsessions to drive the hydromancer.

Gamestuff – Hydromancers have near perfect control over their element. Though, they rarely would want to make water do something unwatery, like dance around in the air. Instead, summoning crushing waves, suddenly sublimating away large areas of ice, and condensing fog/rain out of the air are more likely tactics.

They can easily manage 1d6 damage per round to any living thing within 30’ by fucking up cellular osmosis, either flooding and bursting the cells or causing them to shrivel up and die.

Water obviously cannot be used against them, fire does ½ damage, and cold merely slows their movement a bit. Pointy things and blunt force trauma work just fine, though. 2-3HD probably.

Almost all of them lair by the sea. Some few choose large lakes or wide swamps.

Fire Elementalists

They are charred, smoldering, skeletal things. A few manage apotheosis quickly enough, or possibly with enough humanity left, to simply be covered in terrible burn scars. Either way, the flaming orbs, which replace their eyeballs, boiled and burst away, stare lidlessly ahead.

Despite horrifying visages, pyromancers often seem to be the sanest of the elementalists, at first. The trauma that birthed them happened with enough speed that many are able to nearly put it behind them (or at least convince themselves of this).

However, their fight or flight instincts come on too easily, and pyromancers are all fight. Wild, incoherent rages explode whenever they’re under duress or lost in deep bouts of smoldering ennui.

Gamestuff – Fire Elementalists also have perfect control over their element, but they tend to revel in making fire do weird shit. With their smoking forms and burning eye-candles, a pyromancer is never without a ready source of flame.

They can do 1d6 burning damage per round to all flammable materials (murdersome vagrants included) within thirty feet while expending almost no effort.

Water in amounts less than a barrelful can be turned into harmless (to a pyromancer) steam. More than barrelful causes 1d6 damage per round of exposure. Other energy and elemental attacks don’t really bother them. Fire Elementalists can hibernate in oxygen starved environments indefinitely, waiting impatiently to burn again with the onrush of new air. Like 2-3 HD.

Pyromancers tend to wander from place to place, burning things and scaring/scarring the locals.

Earth Elementalists

There are three basic forms a geomancer will probably take; mud-skeleton, dirt-bag, and crude-statue. I’ll begin with the creepiest:

Leaving most of themselves behind as they crawl forth from their self-chosen graves, two forms of geomancer predominate. The hopeful wizard’s skeleton tears its way out from the ground, replacing its pointless flesh with mud and loose stones. Sometimes the skin instead slides free from its form, filling itself with soft forest loam.

Some few aspiring Earth Elementalists wedge themselves between boulders, to be pressed like flowers in a book. These geomancers become petrified men, appearing as though crude ambulatory statues.

After their heavy, suffocating transformation, most geomancers become extraordinarily claustrophobic. Otherwise, Earth Elementalists are supremely inhuman.

They tend to think in terms of centuries and eons rather than days and years. Only large scale follies concern them at all. If they still bear any good will towards men, it will be on the order of favored kingdoms, perhaps, rather than any individuals. They have heard the echo of geological time. Your impermanence is of no consequence. You are not even an ant. Geomancers are ants; you are a falling mote of dust which somehow believes it matters.

Gamestuff – Like all Elementalists, those of the Earth have near perfect control over their element. However, more than any other, geomancers are loathe to violate the typical movements of their element. Besides, they are barely able to do so; earth is an incredibly stubborn substance.

With no effort, geomancers can cause the earth to quake: Sv. or Fall Down, every round. They can also cause the earth to swallow limbs: Sv. or become stuck. Then take 1d6 crushing damage per round, until you manage to break free (very difficult), chop off the limb, die, or the Elementalist relents.

Avalanches, sudden sinkholes, monumental earthquakes, and grand-ripping fissures are all well within the power of a geomancer who expends some effort. Like 2-3 HD.

Skin-types: ½ damage from all elemental/energy attacks, ½ damage from blunt weapons, no damage from wooden weapons.  

Skeletal-mud-types: no damage from elemental/energy attacks, fire attacks eventually slow them as clay flesh bakes hard, ½ damage from piercing and slashing weapons.

Statue-types: no damage from elemental/energy attacks, extreme heat just makes them lava wizards, no damage from all weapons save maces, hammers, picks, and implements actually designed to break stone.

Earth Elementalists often live atop mountains and/or near fault lines, under the open sky, of course.

Air Elementalists

Aeromancers are the most broken (and thankfully rarest) of all the Elementalists; their long, agonizing apotheosis sometimes takes days. They become thin, brittle, desiccated things. An aeromancer only rises up when completely dried away. They choose places of petulant wind and extreme climate to enact their rituals. This not only expedites their death, but lowers the possibility of animal interference. Most are reborn in howling places of scouring heat or immense unrelenting cold.

Air Elementalists are tempestuous, flitting through long fits of blind rage, deep still melancholy, and manically surreal overdriven happiness. Balance is impossible. Median moods do not exist. The long, terrible fear that birthed them always looms like impossibly black clouds.

 Lucidity is rare and difficult for an aeromancer to savor. Each always knows another storm is coming. They wander, usually away from civilization when cogent.

Gamestuff – Air Elementalists are difficult to combat and best left to their own wild devices. They can condense air into frigid liquid with a thought (4d6 damage [damage descends on subsequent rounds by 1 die], radius of like 10’), effortlessly surround themselves in perfect vacuum, or rip the oxygen straight out from your blood (Sv. or die, those saving drop immediately to 0 hp). Air obeys an aeromancer without hesitation: never mind the stunning masses involved, gale-force winds require only a fleeting wish to be brought forth. Never mind the unbelievable heat-exchange, frozen nitrogen can hail from the sky.

Should one somehow could get close to an aeromancer with violent intent, they are actually quite fragile. ½ HD.

If you see a desiccated corpse crying forlornly in the wilderness, run. Run as fast as you can. Pray to the distant stars the corpse did not see you.

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.?