Monday, April 27, 2015

Sandbox Campaign Part 14: Mappa Mundi

This is part 14 of my ongoing Sandbox Campaign, a campaign which, for a long time now, has totally not been an actual sandbox campaign.  But that will be changing soon, as our brave heroes begin this next phase of their adventure.

When last we left The Graverobbers, they had succeeded in overrunning a forward outpost of Bandit Queen Thalestra's barbarian hordes in Highfrost Pass, preventing the guards from lighting their signal fire.  Kat's cohort, Ryder, was slain during the fight, and Kat and Daphne nearly were as well.  After interrogating some captured archers, the party learned that there was a prisoner of war camp up by Barrow Lake, near where they had defeated Uli Blackeye over a year ago.  They decided to free the captured Kaldish soldiers and use them to take Castle Drenn.

Montilore "Monty" Bearbriar, CN Dwarf Fighter 10
After her near brush with death, Kat returns to Castle Morbis to send a letter to Björn, Sigrid's youngest brother (not to be confused with Big Bjorn Gundersson from my other campaign).  The contents of the letter remain unknown, but probably have something to do with how they really 'hit it off'.  Ryder, after actually dying and being reincarnated as a gnome, realizes that none of his magical armor and weapons fit him anymore, and begins to reconsider his life of adventure.   He does not return to the party when Kat does.

The Graverobbers descend Highfrost pass into the snow-dappled foothills on the other side of the mountains, following the ill-kept road right down to a palisaded encampment.  Zel wild shapes into a hawk and flies over the camp, spying enough tents to house 15-20 men and a tower topped with an unlit beacon fire.  The inhabitants of the camp turn out to be an unlikely combination: trolls and dwarves.  The camp is divided down the middle, one half housing the neat and orderly dwarven mercenaries' tents, the other playing host to a scattered assortment of ramshackle dwellings thrown up by the mercenary ice trolls.  Zel reports back to the party and they form a plan.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fixing the Weapons Table, Part 8: Bludgeoning Weapons

Welcome back to my ongoing series, Fixing the Weapons Table, wherein I channel my MA in medieval history and my near-compulsive need to tweak with game mechanics toward making the Pathfinder weapons table even better!  Today we'll be looking at bludgeoning weapons thanks to a reader's request for more options for hammer lovers.

In my very first installment of Fixing the Weapons Table, I talked about heavy maces vs morningstars and gave the heavy mace a +2 to sunder attempts.  In my two posts about polearms, I gave you the bec de corbin and lucerne hammer and the great morningstar and pollaxe.  So what else is there to say on the subject of bludgeoning weapons?  Well, I'll be talking about clubs, mauls, and flails, introducing pick-hammers and multi-headed flails, and letting you punch people in the face with a buckler.  Sound good?  Read on!

The following material given in gold text is available as Open Game Content under the OGL.  Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars.

Monday, April 13, 2015

GotWK Campaign Part 4: The Underground Steamboat of Death

This is an account of part 4 of my ongoing campaign set in my homebrewed wild west setting, Guns of the Western Kings.  Get caught up with the previous parts here.  

When last we left our heroes, they were hired by the dwarven trading concern House Dent to investigate the source of a mysterious glowing dye being traded by their rivals, House Fleckstone.  Their investigations had led them to an underground warehouse housing a secret lab, which in turn hid a secret passage deep below the mountain to a subterranean river and - of all things - a steamboat.  Back up at the warehouse, the party got into a firefight with two dwarven guards, quickly dispatching one of them.  The other, finally figuring out what was up, called out that he too was working for House Dent.  We now return you to the blogpost already in progress:

via Wikimedia
The dwarf said his name was Quentin Plumbum, and explained that he had been hired to infiltrate Fleckstone, but hadn't yet been able to get inside the secret lab.  Ash told them of the underground steamboat he and Gudguníis had discovered, and Quentin suggested hiding the party inside the food shipment bound for this mysterious outpost that both he and the party had heard mention of.  He would cover for them by explaining that subterranean raiders had attacked the warehouse, wounding him and killing his partner before retreating in the face of Quentin's fire.  The party agreed.  But before he would put them in the crates, he insisted on bringing in his employer - a businessman who had been hired by House Dent, and had in turn hired Quentin to do his dirty work.

Quentin burst into his hotel room, still bleeding, and explained the situation.  Theodore was up immediately.  Adventure - just what he had been waiting for!  He grabbed his "go bag", his twin .577 revolvers, and his trusty melee weapons: a whip and a trident.  In a flash, he and Quentin were back at the warehouse.  They hardly had time for introductions before being shoved unceremoniously into the shipping containers.  Heather pocketed a few potatoes for a later stew.  Rusty, meanwhile was really enjoying his time in a pickle barrel.  They waited a few uncomfortable hours before being picked up and loaded onto the boat.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Achievement Unlocked: 100+ Achievements for Your Game

Do you crave recognition for your mighty deeds?  Like that one time you jumped off a tower and killed a gnoll with your falling damage?  Or the time you wrestled a giant to the ground?  Or, heck, even that time you were swallowed whole by Jormunrek the Terrible, ancient red dragon?

In the spirit of videogames, and in celebration of my 100th blogpost (last week's April Fool's post), I decided to make 100 unlockable achievements for your game of Pathfinder (or D&D 3.5, or whatever).  Well, that's what I set out to do, but because I'm bad at counting I accidentally made 106, so enjoy!

The achievements have a suggested XP value for unlocking them, but the whole thing is totally subject to GM's discretion of course.  They cover all sorts of topics, from kill-counts to alignment shifts to magic item creation to critical fumbles.  Some of my favorites are based on actual events that have happened in my games, like Meat Comet, which commemorates the time a flind was wrestling with the sorcerer Azanazius atop a wooden grate and the rogue Mr. Noir jumped down from the wall of the ruined castle, crushing the flind and sending all three tumbling through the shattered grate into the prison pit below.

Without further ado, here are 106 achievements for your game.  If you unlock all of them, well, then you've obviously cheated.  But good job nonetheless.


First Blood                 10xp
Make the first kill of the campaign

Amateur Monster Hunter      50xp
Deliver the killing blow to 10 monsters

Professional Monster Hunter             100xp
Deliver the killing blow to 50 monsters

Expert Monster Hunter              250xp
Deliver the killing blow to 100 monsters

Man is the Real Monster         500xp
Deliver the killing blow to 200 monsters

Dragon Slayer        250xp
Deliver the killing blow to a true dragon of at least CR 10

Dragon Scourge 500xp
Deliver the killing blow to 5 true dragons of at least CR 10

Your GM Put Too Many Dragons in This Campaign  1000xp
Deliver the killing blow to 20 true dragons of at least CR 10

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

APRIL FOOLS - Expanded Elemental Bestiary Preview

O frabjous day!  Today marks d20 Despot's 2nd birthday, and its 100th* post!

*ignoring any contentless newsposts

To celebrate, I'm pleased to announce d20 Despot's first print book, available in your local gaming shop soon!  It is titled The d20 Despot Expanded Elemental Bestiary.  A few months ago, I was brainstorming ideas for a mini-bestiary to release as my first foray into the market, and I started thinking about elementals.  Most elemental-themed monsters focus on the big four - water, earth, wind, and fire - with a few delving into stuff like ice or electricity, and the odd one or two dealing with strange para-elemental forces like time or magnetism or gravity.  Then I realized that there are so many untapped elements to bring into the game!  Just as a sneak preview for you, my loyal readers, here's a peak at one of the monsters in this book: the Bismuth Behemoth!

That's some nice art, right?  Kent Hamilton has left us for bigger and better things, so I'm pleased to introduce to you d20 Despot's new artist in residence: Thunderaxe_6969!  I'm finally putting that patreon funding to good use!  Thunderaxe_6969 is an experienced artist, having painted detailed fantasy-themed murals on his fair share of vans.  Now he's a real pro, having done all 120 illustrations in the Expanded Elemental Bestiary - a task which took him weeks to complete.  The results speak for themselves.

Without any further ado, here's the bismuth behemoth!  Afterwards I'll talk a bit about some of the other monsters you can expect to see in the Expanded Elemental Bestiary

The following text in gold is available as Open Game Content under the OGL. Open Game Content is ©2015 Jonah Bomgaars.