RollUP: Warhammer 4E

RollUP is a show all about character creation – exploring a host of different systems every Friday! The last couple of Fridays we have been taking a look at Warhammer Fantasy RPG Fourth Edition with the help of Jim Davis (@therealjimdavis of WebDM and Warhammer Wednesdays right here on EncounterRP!). For our deep dive into the Cubicle7 Character Creation, we took a look at rolling up a random character using d10s, d100s and the random roll tables which are a staple of WHFRPG.

Jim had a dream of playing in a game which explored the rise of everyday folk into the great chaos cults. Yoma, the witch, could not have been a more perfect random roll. Thanks again to chat for their assistance in helping name and shape this character. For all of her final stats, spells and details please check out her sheet below but be warned, like all humans in Warhammer, she is doomed. Her prophecied doom is to “die in water darkened by blood” – hopefully, she can avoid or use the chaos powers to escape this fate but if not, at least that is some bonus points towards the next character!

Yoma/Salandra The Witch

Thanks again to Ex_Libris for his help in the walkthrough for this character creation and for making the fillable PDF which includes advantage trackers for combat.

If you need MORE Warhammer characters you can also take a look at this pre-gen list!

The next part of our focus on character creation took a look at how you could reskin/”homebrew” the already existing content in the core book to create your own races, to play stories that you want to play. Jim’s second dream is of a game filled with orcs and so he got to work coming up with a set of characteristic base rolls, skills, talents and career options which would be a great way to start your own Warband.

Orc Race Character Creation

Check out the episode for more explanation on these choices and how to use them but we hope you have as much fun using them as we did making and talking about them.

If you are looking for some actual play Warhammer Fantasy content then check out Beneath Dark Boughs (2E) or The Great Conspiracy (4E – currently playing live Wednesdays 4pm EST)!

RollUP: Call Of Cthulhu 7E Characters

RollUP is a show all about character creation – exploring a host of different systems every Friday! The focus for our first few episodes has been Call of Cthulhu 7e by Chaosium.  In addition to our episodes, we recommend checking out the free Quick Start PDF for more information as well as the Investigator’s Handbook.

Over the last three weeks, @LaughLoveLindy (Masks of Nyarlathotep and more) and I (@Frostfrmfire) have been working on two characters as an example of what could be made for playing in this narrative, and flexible, system. There are so many settings open so to narrow it down we took a poll and the classic 1920s of Lovecraft were chosen.

Our plot hook was simple: a rich Parisian society lady by the name of Madame du Faux has invited a number of guests to a lavish party in her home, the highlight spectacle of which will be the unwrapping of a mummy. What dark secrets will be found within?

Thanks to the help of chat and the random rolling method (p43 onwards in the handbook) we ended up with: Professor Archibald Bennett, a self-taught expert and Gillian Moore, a jewel and art thief. These two characters went to school together in London but their lives had since diverged. The invitation had the Professor searching for a plus one and Gillian ended up conveniently in Paris just in time to oblige.

Professor Bennett is a curmudgeonly fellow, old before his time who has a specific interest in the occult, his most treasured possession is a stolen artefact with a symbol he has yet to identify carved into its surface. He’s generally unkempt with barely tamed hair and a tweed suit a week past laundry day but his brain is organised, and fascinated with secrets the world. Having glimpsed a few of the dark secrets and not being of the best constitution he chooses to arm himself with a revolver. Gillian rides a motorbike and sidecar and appears to have a much more devil may care attitude to life and her work. She seeks a great prize and fortune – adventure isn’t such a bad methodology. Gillian’s prized possession is a compact which contains a hairpin lockpick, a breath mint and a very handy mirror (suitable for many occasions). Gillian has a habit of staring at things – things she desires and into space where she can imagine things she desires.

Professor Archibald Bennett Professor Career, 180 Personal Interest Points, 200 Occupation Points

Gillian Moore Criminal (Freelance/Solo), 150 Personal Interest Points, 250 Occupation Points

Need more Call of Cthulhu content? Check out the Tomes & Tentacles Podcast for some wonderfully spooky and maddening fun with The King in Yellow.

(Sheets compiled using Dholeshouse.org and require Adobe Acrobat Reader)

How to Use an Ooze

Last week I asked Twitter what kind of Dungeons & Dragons monsters I should write about. I’ve been running Out of the Abyss most of this year, so I listed a few Underdark monsters I’ve used a lot. The clear winner was oozes.

One of the big limitations of oozes is that almost all of them are slower than most player characters. Most player characters can run away from an ooze. In order for an ooze to be a problem, you’ve often got to put your player characters in a tight spot where they can’t run, such as a tight dungeon. Since most oozes can squeeze trough small cracks you could have oozes coming out of the walls to attack and then disappearing back into tiny cracks where the player characters can’t attack them. You’re kind of treating them less like a ‘monster’ and more like a dungeon hazard – something the player characters have to get past in order to get to the business end of the dungeon. Hopefully it’s going to take off a chunk of their hit points, and maybe it will even ruin some of their armor or weapons, so they’re more vulnerable when they face the boss.

When you think about it, there are actually a lot of ways villains could make use of oozes. Oozes could be used in traps. There could be a trap that drops your players into a pit full of oozes. Or a trap that drops oozes on their heads. There could be a potion bottle that actually has a tiny ooze in it.

While we’re talking about bottles of ooze, maybe your villain could be an alchemist who throws vials with oozes in them at your player characters?

If you’re running an adventure that involves a murder investigation, maybe the villain has used an ooze to clean up the evidence like a slimy Roomba?

If the villain manages to capture a prisoner and is trying to get information out of them, maybe their interrogation involves an ooze? The torture could be dipping their hand in a container of corrosive ooze. Or it could be allowing an ooze to eat away at them until they provide answers.

If the player characters are searching a dungeon for an ancient artefact, you could have them find that it’s already been found by another adventurer – maybe a rival. If they take the time to search for clues, they discover a gelatinous cube that devoured the adventurer and the artefact. If the player characters want the artefact, they’ll need to get it out of the ooze.

Oozes aren’t normally sentient, but if your adventure features an intelligent ooze you’ll need to think about how to characterise your ooze non-player character. I’d suggest portraying an ooze as lethargic but ravenous.

If the ooze has consumed a lot of people, I’d have it talking with many different voices. I might even describe the faces of the ooze’s victims appearing briefly in its shifting form.

 

Call to Adventure: “The Bookkeepers”

An Adventure Hook Written By: Dice Prophet

Type: Mystery, Investigation

System: D&D 5th Edition or Pathfinder

Ideal Party Size: 4-5

Recommended Levels: 1-2

Introduction

This adventure begins as a macabre paranormal investigation of a purportedly haunted library. Upon closer examination, the player characters learn that this phenomenon is merely the machinations of a mischievous pair of faerie dragons who have become trapped in the prime material plane. True to their nature, they have taken to terrorizing the locals with trickery as they attempt to find their way back home.

Read the following flavor text to the PCs at the beginning of the quest:

“Rumors have circulated that Arnost Library is under siege by angry spirits. A week ago, a sudden flash of green light from the East Wing heralded a series of ghastly sightings! Ever since then, the building has been plagued by the restless undead.

Locals reported seeing a chain-bound specter with empty black eyes roaming among the shelves. The Head Librarian claimed that the books are constantly rearranging themselves and floating in midair. A guttural incorporeal voice constantly demands tribute with an insatiable zeal. And just yesterday, a precision of trained and armed city watch members ran screaming from the building after just an hour of investigation; they have inconsolable ever since. For public safety, the library is now under quarantine.

We beseech the aid of brave adventurers to help cleanse this blight from our beloved town! We offer 400 gold pieces and access to the library’s restricted texts for anyone who succeeds in this task!”

Setup

The adventure revolves around a faerie dragon duo with the names Aya and Waska. For their 5th Edition stats, consult page 133 of the Monster’s Manual. If you’re running Pathfinder, the monster details are located at page 91 of Bestiary 3 or at this link. These creatures are the size of cats (tiny) and sprout translucent, butterfly-like wings in lieu of the bat-like structures of “true” dragons.

Aya’s body is covered with shimmering interlocked blue scales, indicating that she is 31-40 years of age, and can cast spells up to Major Image (D&D/Pathfinder) to assist in her façade. Her younger brother Waska is armored in glistening emerald plates and has lesser combat and spellcasting ability.

Development

Tactics

The dragon siblings to not wish to kill anybody, but they will harm anyone they deem to be a threat. They will only resort to direct attacks when cornered. Otherwise, they prefer to drop objects from the environment onto their enemies, ranging from small knick-knacks to entire bookshelves, depending on the situation.

Investigation

Aya and Waska are using combinations of their invisibility, illusions, spells, deceptions, and environmental assets to create the appearance of a haunting. Below are some examples of checks that the players can attempt to discern the true nature of their enemy.

Arcana (Intelligence) DC 10 or any spell/ability that detects undead – There are no signs of undead activity or traces of necrotic energy on the premises.

Arcana (Intelligence) or Knowledge: Planes DC 16 – You can sense the remnants of planar magic in the vicinity. The “green flash” reported by the townsfolk may have been an side-effect of a portal spell.

Perception (Wisdom) DC 20 – The dragons let out a stifled giggle whenever they successfully pull off an amusing prank. This snicker can be detected by a keen ear in the aftermath of such an event.

Investigation vs. Deception or Knowledge: Local vs. Bluff – Many of these ghostly sightings are oddly familiar. You realize that they are ripped straight from local books and tales from this specific building.

Nature or Knowledge: Nature DC 10 – There has been a disembodied voice demanding “tribute” from the townsfolk. It has rejected everything from trinkets to jewels, but finally accepted offerings of food. In particular, the presence favors baked goods and sweets more than anything else.

Survival (Wisdom) DC 14 – You locate tiny tracks running along the bookshelves. They are composed on three clawed fingers and an opposable thumb. DC 20 – You find some loose powder clinging to some of the books. Upon closer inspection it shimmers like a prism when scattered.

Conclusion

Once the true nature of the “haunting” is revealed, Aya and Waska will make their presence known. They mean no harm, but they have no reason to trust anyone due to their unfamiliarity with their surroundings. Aya has been fastidiously studying books on magic in order to conjure up a portal to take them both back home. They were banished from their homelands for being too mischievous, and clearly haven’t learned their lesson at all. From here, the players can decide their fate. Do they exterminate them? Take them in as familiars? Or join them in their quest to return to the Feywild?

Call to Adventure: “The Descent”

An Adventure Hook Written By: Dice Prophet

Type: Horror and suspense

System: D&D 5th Edition (requires Ravenloft setting)

Ideal Party Size: 4-6

Recommended Levels: 1

Concept

So you want to run the campaign: “Curse of Strahd?” But what if all of the player characters are from different locations on the world map and have little to no relation to one another? Here are some ideas on how to quickly get your PCs together and traveling within the Demiplane of Dread in a more cinematic way!

The following is an alteration and elaboration of the “Creeping Fog” section (CoS pg. 22) of the adventure book, and was inspired by countless horror games. The goal is to invoke a dreamlike atmosphere, establish a bleak and oppressive tone, and have the characters constantly questioning their own sanity and perceptions.

Spooky and somber background music is entirely optional, but highly recommended!

Introduction

At the very beginning, you have a number of PCs spread across a wide campaign world. The original adventure describes how the Barovian fog mysteriously whisks the characters away while you are out camping in the wilderness, but this can be easily adapted and tailored to a wide variety of unique settings for the individual PCs, allowing a more personalized introduction.

Setup

Refer to the “Mists of Ravenloft” (CoS pg. 23) for more information on the negative effects of traversing the fog. Hint at the adverse nature of the mist in order to dissuade the players from straying off the path. Once the players are introduced to one another, the fog becomes less of an active nuisance, but remains in place to serve as a barrier at the edges of the starting area, whichever that may be.

Development

The following are examples of how you can transport a character into Ravenloft in the middle of their typical day. The goal is to trick them into following the plot railroad, and then bring in the mist to seal off their escape. Keep this segment short and simple; you don’t want to spend too much time on a single player.

Urban Setting

If a player character starts off in an urban setting, give them someone to chase. Draw their focus away from the environment and upon a singular point by enticing their avarice, lust, or other base urges. Alternatively, flip the script around and create a scenario in which the PC is the object of pursuit. Perhaps they are wanted for a crime or attempting to flee a relationship that went sour. Below are some sample hooks.

  • The telltale jingle of coins from a wealthy merchant’s purse entices the character to tail them.
  • An attractive maid or coxswain catches the character’s eye with a reciprocated come-hither stare.
  • Provoke their wrath by having a nameless NPC steal something from them and run off.

Allow the scenario to unfold with a series of appropriate checks before ripping them from their familiar world. This incident incident can range from gradual and cryptic to sudden and traumatic. Here are some examples.

  • If they successfully woo the object of their affection, simply relocate them during their satisfied slumber.
  • After they lose track of their quarry or successfully shake off their tail, they notice the fog creeping in and obscuring their surroundings. Their attempts to reorient themselves are fruitless as the surrounding buildings appear to drift away with each passing second. This baffling phenomenon continues until they hear the sounds of their boots crunching upon a gravel road that they don’t recognize.
  • If they manage to catch their targets, immediately turn the tables and trust them into an overwhelming encounter with strange creatures. As a blade fatally slips into their heart and the warmth leaves their bodies, they suddenly awaken in a new location, clutching at a non-existent wound.
  • They player stumbles onto the main street, gasping for air. They turn backwards to confirm whether they are still being followed. But before they can react, they are suddenly face-to-face with a speeding horse-drawn cart that collides straight into them, enveloping their sight in utter darkness. They jolt back to consciousness with an involuntary scream, surrounded by an unending wilderness.

Rural or Natural Setting

Similar to the aforementioned setups, allow the PC to wander and interact with their environments. Use a simple diversion to misdirect them as the fog creeps in and warps the setting. For instance:

  • While mining for ore from a nearby mountain, the fog suddenly cascades over the hills and envelops the character in its ethereal embrace. They attempt to flee but become hopelessly lost. Eventually they set foot upon a path that they had never traversed before.
  • After successfully tracking down and slaying some wild game, they begin carving up the body. After several minutes of concerted effort, they realize that the sky has grown darker and a foreboding haze has begun creeping up all around them.
  • A loved one wanders out at night and beckons them to follow. They attempt to catch this particular important person, but are then swept up by the mischievous mist.

The Sea

On the off-chance that a character began their journey at sea, getting them into Ravenloft is very simple. Devise a means or throwing them overboard. As they fight the currents and struggle to catch their breath, they violently breach the water’s surface and find themselves transported to the otherworld. Beyond the shore of the  barely-waist deep puddle they are now lying inside is the same gravel pathway.

Bringing The Pieces Together

After each of the mini-scenarios are concluded, read the following flavor text to the players.

“Your feet crunch against loose rocks as you follow the gravel path, taking great care avoid the boundaries of the obscuring mist. The milky white cloud erects a three sided wall to both sides and your back, funneling you along this lonely road. As you cautiously traverse the unfamiliar environment you observe that the miasma expands and contracts rhythmical, as if alive and breathing. Eventually, your ears catch the coarse grinding of multiple footsteps gradually growing out of sync with your own. And within the nearly impenetrable barrier you spot the outlines of other humanoid figures.”

At this point, all the players are made aware of each other, and have been brought together by a cruel destiny. This trail leads directly onto the Old Svalich Road (“Areas of Barovia” Section A, CoS pg. 33). But where they go from here is entirely up to them.

Call to Adventure: “Belly of the Beast”

An Adventure Hook Written By: Dice Prophet

System: D&D 5th Edition or Pathfinder

Ideal Party Size: 4-5

Recommended Level: 10

Concept

Defeating a dragon is usually the capstone to an epic adventure. The beast falls, the party splits up the loot, and everybody returns to the town, hailed as triumphant saviors. Instead, let’s reverse the formula; this time the wyrm-slaying kicks off an unexpected journey!

Introduction

Read the following flavor text to the player characters at the beginning of the quest:

“The sky grows darker as clouds billow in from the east, carried by quickened winds. The miscellaneous scents of your surroundings are suddenly overpowered by ashy smoke. Then, a thunderous roar sunders the silence, drawing your attention skywards, and you lock eyes with your enemy. A massive shadow stretches across the land as a ferocious red dragon soars straight towards you, steaming maw and malicious intentions bared.”

Setup

When the battle begins, the players can be camping out in the wilderness, celebrating at a tavern, or shopping in the village square, et cetera; the details of their current occupation are unimportant. What matters is that they are suddenly set upon by a vicious young red dragon (D&D 5th Edition Monster Manual pg. 98 or this link for Pathfinder). The serpent attacks with murderous intent and must be slain for the adventure to progress.

Development

Once the dragon is defeated, the party can investigate the corpse, which sows the seed for the actual adventure. Roll a d10 to randomly select which twist of fate befalls the party, or come up with your own! Where you go from there is up to the Dungeon Master’s discretion! But here are some ideas.

  1. The dragon’s belly is filled with countless half-dissolved belongings of the hapless mortals who were previously devoured. Among the salvageable bits you find a slime-soaked scroll that contains a heavily encoded message. The only passage you can immediately decipher is the line, “A False King sits upon the Throne” beside the painted likeness of the current Emperor.
  2. There were no prior rumors regarding dragons in the region, so this attack was entirely unprecedented by the locals. Upon closer inspection of corpse, you find the remnants of shattered chains hanging from the wyrm’s throat and arms. These shackles have no maker’s mark, and are comprised of a mysterious alloy that no one can identify.
  3. As you inspect the motionless dragon, the body reduces in size and transforms before your eyes, leaving behind a humanoid creature. They then jolt awake, screaming in abject terror and agony.
  4. The beast lies dead in the dirt, but is erratically twitching and emitting sparks. You peer past the grave wounds and behold an internal network of gears and clockwork components. This creature’s draconic nature is only skill-deep.
  5. Upon the killing bow, the creature’s body loses form and suddenly dissolves into a shower of black ink that rains down upon the surrounding landscape. The ink is harmless, but traces of dark magic linger within it.
  6. The dragon’s entire body is wreathed with the twisting vines of some unidentifiable plant, the roots of which are centered directly at the base of its skull. As you approach, the leaf-lined tendrils rapidly detach from the corpse and burrow underground, disappearing from sight.
  7. An incredibly rare and dangerous event known as environmental diffusion occurs (D&D 4th Edition Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons). When some dragons are slain, their bodies rapidly decompose and seep their respective elemental essence into the land, tainting it. In this case, the region becomes engulfed with a magically endless wildfire that does not wane in weather nor require fuel. The characters must find a means to contain and extinguish the blaze before it spreads any further.
  8. The creature’s form is magically reduced to that of a dragon-shaped stone totem that you can lift with a single hand. The artifact is entirely inert, save for the ruby-like jewels set as eyes, which gleam with warm light.
  9. In an ironic turn of events, the dragon’s presence was actually an indirect source of adventuring-based revenue for the nearest town. In its absence, less people frequent the region, and the town eventually falls into economic decay. You monster.
  10. The dragon’s blood is incredibly toxic and causes all nearby plant matter to disintegrate. Any humanoid characters that directly contacted the essence are later wracked with an even worse affliction. First they experience a fiery rash, followed by intense itching, and ultimately the appearance of red scales under their peeling skin as their body temperature begins to rise…

Don’t Open That – Mistletine (Disease)

Don’t Open That – Mistletine

Free to download traps with tips and tricks

By Craig Simpson    Twitter Website

Hello and welcome back to another ‘Don’t Open That’ article. I hope you are all enjoying using these traps in your games. This week I’m taking you in to the forest for our next trap.

Mistletine (Disease)

Try to keep the symptoms relatively subtle and remember to keep track of the level of exhaustion and the level of the disease! Until next week – Don’t open that!

– Craig Simpson

Don’t Open That – The Laughing Gnome Statuette

Don’t Open That – The Laughing Gnome Statuette

Free to download traps with tips and tricks

By Craig Simpson    Twitter Website

Hello everyone! Welcome to another ‘Don’t Open That’ article. I hope you all enjoyed last week’s trap and you didn’t kill your whole party with it. This week, we’re going to try something a bit different. Ethan  suggested that I make a curse of some kind, which is a really good idea. So, thanks to Ethan, may I present to you – The Laughing Gnome.

Laughing Gnome Curse

Once again, I’d like to thank HomeBrewery for their fantastic site and for making my crazy inventions look good!

I hope you enjoy this and have as much fun with it as I am going to! Take care my friends and until next week, don’t open that!

– Craig Simpson

 

Don’t Open That – Mantrap (snare)

Don’t Open That – Mantrap (Snare)

Free to download traps with tips and tricks

By Craig Simpson    Twitter Website

Hello and welcome to another ‘Don’t Open That’ article! I trust that you all enjoyed last week’s article and that (some) of your party is still alive. This week I have made a mantrap for you. I don’t recall seeing this anywhere else, but hopefully, if there is, then this will be different enough for you to run either in a session and yield different results.

Mantrap

I hope you enjoy implimenting this trap in your sessions, I know I will! Until next week – Don’t open that!

– Craig

Don’t Open That – Shocking Maze

Don’t Open That – Shocking Maze

Free to download traps with tips and tricks

By Craig Simpson    Twitter

Hello and welcome to another ‘Don’t Open That’ article! Hopefully you all enjoyed the statue upgrade I made last time. This time I will be tackling something quite different. As I have mentioned before, I will alternate between making my own traps and upgrading traps that are already available.

So, this week we will be looking at making a maze with a shocking twist. It works by having a 6×6 room (you can actually increase this to any dice by dice room, so 8×8, 10×10 and so on). There are invisible walls that prevent a character from walking in to a given square, so they must find the right route (there may be more than 1 correct route, there may be dead ends. This is up to you).

The Shocking Maze

I hope you enjoy this trap room. Until next week – Don’t open that!

– Craig Simpson

Don’t Open That – Statue Upgrade

Don’t Open That – Statue Upgrade

Free to download traps with tips and tricks

By Craig Simpson    Twitter

Hello and welcome to another ‘Don’t Open That’ article! I hope you had plenty of fun with the previous trap (and I hope your players survived!). This week, we’re going into the workshop to upgrade something that is already in the DM’s guide.

This week’s trap that is due for an upgrade is the Fire-Breathing Statue. I am sure most of us have been caught in the flaming cone on occasion, but we all survived to tell the tale. Right? So how about we up the ante. Once again, I’ll be using Homebrewery for the PDF that is free to download. Here is a breakdown of the things that I will be adding to this trap:

  • An extra pressure plate

  • Increasing the DC, lowering the damage

  • Turning platform

  • Different saving throws

  • Crit miss shenanigans

Statue Upgrade – Craig Simpson

Adding another pressure plate allows you to double-down on your trap which means twice as much fun! I wanted to include the turning platform so that players would have to remember what position the trap is in, which will help (or hinder) their escape. By increasing the DC, it is more likely that the players will be unsuccessful in disabling or noticing a trap, to compensate for this, decrease the damage so they can take more hits. Adding a variety of different effects and saving throws means that each member of the party will face their own challenge, if all of your traps require Dex saving throws, your rouges will leave unharmed and your wizards might be dead! Our aim is to make traps that are fun for all the family! Finally, I really like the idea of making your players suffer for rolling natural 1’s and rather than simply failing, adding a bonus effect will make the experience very memorable.

I hope you find a way to add this to your game and I look forward to hearing how it goes horribly wrong. Until next week – Don’t open that!

– Craig

Loot Chest: Spool of Ironsilk

spool

Spool of Ironsilk
A medium-sized spool of dull grey thread (50ft) with the tensile strength of two-inch thick corded hemp rope. Given the fineness of the thread, gloves are advisable if attempting to climb…

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