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Showing posts from February, 2012

4E: Cost in Stamina

I'm not a big fan of fire and forget powers, but those that wear down a resource over time I can get behind.   So, harking back to the reserves mechanic, a random idea:
Using an at will power is same as usual
Using an encounter power costs a number of hit points equal to the power level.
Using a daily power costs a number of hit points equal to twice the power level.

Again, this is is an attempt to not keep hit points from simply representing ablative damage endurance, and return them to being what they've nominally represented all along:  stamina and accumulated luck.  In this case they can also represent mystical sway.

Sic Transit Bibliotheca Mundi

All things are possible.
All things are known.
Nothing is remembered.

In the Biblioteca Mundi setting there are spells available, or at least working theories, on how to do anything.

However that was during the height of the Great Library three millenia ago.  Since that time all the books have been checked out and none returned.  Or more accurately:  The library has been sacked hundreds of times and it's pieces are scattered among guilds, wealthy collectors, misanthropic magicians, and the tombs of dead kings and sorcerers.

If you want to cast a spell you can hope the information is easily available locally (unlikely), or spend fifty years researching it yourself (Yay! A life well spent.), or go raid the dungeon where rumor has it that a treatise on similar effects was once stored.

Owl Light: Appendix N

The Dungeon Masters Guide for the 1st Edition of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons contained, among many other things, the now famous "Appendix N".  This particular section of appendix contained material which had inspired and shaped Gygax imagination and AD&D.

In a similar spirit writers since occasionally included an Appendix N or equivalent recommendations in their games.  And I figure I'd like to take a crack at this as well.  So the following is an "Appendix N" tailored to the feel of the Owl Light setting.

Books and short stories
Arthur C. Clarke - The Lion of Comarre
Glen Cook - The Black Company series
Lord Dunsany - The King of Elfland's Daughter, also short stories, in particular:  Idle Days on the Yann, How Nuth Would Have Practiced His Arts Upon the Gnoles.
Barbara Hambly - The Sundog series
M. John Harrison - The Pastel City (and other Viriconium stories)
William Hope Hodgeson - The Night Land
Robert E. Howard - The Conan stories
Steven King - The Da…

Magic Item: Magic Beans/Beanstalk

Magic beans are an incursive fae plant.  Grown in the fae realms magic beans produce relatively normal looking plants given the terrain.  However, when planted in the mortal world they sprout into something completely different.

Fae beings can not plant magic beans themselves in the mortal world, and most see no need to, but mortals can.  A mortal planting magic beans in the mortal world grows a magic bean stalk.  A magic bean stalk is a gigantic tangle of vines rising up to the sky where they pierce back into the realms of Faery.

The seed pods grown by a magical beanstalk, are the size of small canoes, with seeds the size of chickens which are quite edible.  Unfortunately only a few are produced per vine, so they do not provide a very sufficient food source for more than a few individuals.  Also the seeds of a magical beanstalk are sterile and will not grow if planted.

Magical beanstalks survive in the mortal realm for only a season before succumbing to whither and rot.  Though massi…

Reserves

The D&D convention of inflating hit dice has always stuck in my craw.  That is:  hit point totals which increase in proportion to creature level.

As a representation of bodily health it seems absurd that a character who could be killed at first level would be able to take a direct, full damage hit from a two-handed sword, or fall off a cliff, or even a direct hit by a missile (in some sci-fi offshoots), and survive unscathed.

Over the years it's been put forward repeatedly, apparently even by the game's author, that hit points are not a measure of the character's physical integrity alone.  They instead represent a nebulous sort of luck, internal energy and survivability.

But while I can understand this idea, and it would make some sense in certain games, it still doesn't sit well for two reasons:
Although the immunity caused by hit points builds over levels, the damage done by a typical melee attack increases very little, especially in early editions of the game.  T…