Monthly Archives: February 2017

Encounter Environment: The Gravity Chamber

This week I saved all my creative energies for one big post, and TGIF!

(Seriously, I’ve sold pdfs shorter than this… )

The Gravity Chamber

The Gravity Chamber is an encounter environment idea. It’s a room in which gravity swaps one a round, every round, randomly and often with little warning. Down becomes up, and then the next round becomes down again. PCs must deal with being constantly slammed up and down, hopefully while you also add another encounter (like driders with boxes of caltrops and a cyclops alchemist) to keep thigns fresh and terrifying.

The Set Up

Have this be a big room, with a ceiling that’s 20 feet high, plus 10 feet per 5 full levels of the PCs. Also, describe the weird bloodstains, scattered gear, and broken crockery everywhere…

Once the PCs are all inside, something triggers the room. Maybe it’s an ancient eldritch trap that goesn;t go off until everyone is inside. Maybe it’s a malfunctioning antigrav drive with an AI that waits for all passengers to be aboard. Maybe it’s just bad timing. Maybe a super-powerful psychic child is sitting in the middle of the room waiting for her powers to kill her, and she throws a tantrum. Maybe there’s a big shiny button, and the fun starts when someone presses it. Your game, your call. This is just a tool in your toolbox.

Once it’s going, the Big Swap rolls initiative every round. Keep this secret. When it’s number comes up, down and up switch places.

If there’s an off switch, the PCs can try to reach it. If not, the effect likely lasts 10 rounds.

The Difficulty of Reverse Gravity

The difficulty of anything you attempt in the Gravity Chamber is modified by how much warning there is before gravity takes hold, and how suddenly it happens once the switch occurs. Those aren’t things that exist in real-world terms, so there can be as much or as little warning as you, the GM, want.
To keep things interesting, I recommend you make the Difficulty Value 1.5x the Average party Level of your group. When a calculation of a DC calls for a value of X + DV, this should keep things interesting for characters of any level. For example, if a wizard who is part of a 5th level group is flying in the gravity chamber, his Fly check have a DC of 22 (15 + a DV of 7.5, rounded down to 7).

You could of course decide that the gravity chamber is the most dangerous, most sudden, most unpredictable version possible, and make all the DV’s 30. But that’s not going to be much fun for 8th level characters.

If you want to use the gravity chamber more than once, you can actually vary the DV and give the players careful explanations. If they run into a gravity chamber at 5th level with a DV of 7, explain that there is some warning, a sense of tilting or a brief moment of weightlessness, before each gravity switch. If they run into another one at 8th level, rather than a DV of 12 (as the formula would suggest), perhaps it has a DV of only 5. Explain that there is a groan and a series of clicks before the gravity switch, and that gravity fades in and out, quickly but not with no warning. It’s actually easier than the first one they encountered (which also allows you to put a more dangerous complementary encounter in the chamber).

This, of course, sets them up for the extremely violent, no-warning gravity chamber they encounter at 10th level, with a DV of 20. One hopes by then the players have made some preparations for these types of encounters.

The Details

What happens when gravity reverses itself depends on what you were doing at the time.

Standing: If you are standing when gravity reverses itself, you are going to fall. The only question is, can you reduce the damage by “jumping” toward the new ground, flip midair, and land on your feet? That’s a DC 10 + DV check, rather than a flat DC 15. Also, since otherwise people are standing from prone every round, you may wish to give people a choice of reducing the damage by 10 feet 9and falling prone if they take any damage), or landing in a heroic 3-point stance, which means they take full damage but *aren’t* considered prone.

Deadpool would approve.

Flying: Flying characters don’t get a pass just because they aren’t touching the ground. Flying means you are pushing against “down” with some force to counteract gravity. Since you don’t know when gravity will reverse itself, there’s a definite risk that the force used to push against “down” will slam you into the new down when gravity flips. After all if it’s just 40 feet from one side to the other, at 1g it only takes about 1.5 seconds to fall that distance (ignoring things like wind drag), and if you are flying at the midpoint it’s less than 1 second.

When gravity reverses, anyone flying must make a Fly check with a DC of 15 + DV. The exception to this is flight with perfect maneuverability, which only needs to make a DC of 0 + DV. On a failed check you move a number of feet toward the new “down” equal to double the amount you missed the check by. If you move so far you hit the current “down,” you take following damage and are prone.

Climbing: Climbing the walls or trying to use the Climb skill to stick to the floor when it becomes the ceiling is tricky… but not impossible. Usually an “overhand with handholds and footholds only” is DC 30, which is pretty epic. But you could, of course, add actual rungs, loops, gnarly roots, or even netting strung across every surface. To make a Climb effort a viable option you may want to go with a DC of 20+ DV, and be liberal with bonuses for doing things like hammering in pitons or getting clever with an immovable rod.

If a character has a climb speed and can stick to a surface gecko-like, it’s MUCH easier to stay stuck to a surface when gravity reverses itself… but like flight it’s not automatic. DC 5 + DV.
If you fail a check by 1-4, you may choose to be staggered and immobile, but stay in your space (representing a death-grip to stay put), If you fail by 5 or more, or aren’t willing to be staggered, you fall and hit the new floor.

Landing: Things like wind drag, randomly pushing off other objects by accident, and gravity eddies mean you don’t land exactly above or below your starting point. If you succeed at an Acrobatics check as described above, pick a square either directly under you or adjacent to the one directly under you, and you land there. For any other result, roll 1d8 and 1d20. The 1d8 determines your direction of scatter, if any. If it and the d20 result in the same number, you land directly under your starting space. If the d8 result is smaller than the d20 result, you drift 5 feet in the direction indicated by the d8. If the d8 result is bigger than the d20 result, you drift ten feet in the direction indicated by the d8.

If two or more creatures end up in the same space, they all make grapple checks. The creature with the highest result is standing (and may shift one space if necessary). All others are prone. No one is actually grappling, that just represents the mad scrabble to end up on top as they are flung together.

Hazards

Remember I mentioned the driders you could add might have boxes of caltrops? This thing is a giant washing machine, and everything is being banged about. Each round, everyone must make a Reflex save with a DC of 5 + DV. On a success, you dodged all the debris. On a failure, you take damage equal to falling half the distance to the ground, as pebbles, old gear, and even small rodents slam into you.

You can also have small fields of caltrops, alchemists bombs, and angry hornet’s nests bouncing around, with people trying to avoid landing on them. Move these the same way you move creatures, but if they end up sharing a space, the creatures automatically slam into them.

Ouch.

Rewards

If you follow the guidelines given here, the Gravity Chamber is an encounter roughly the same CR as the party’s average level. If you add another encounter to it, boost that encounter’s CR by +2.

Of course being a higher CR encounter means more treasure… but what if everyone gains some special ability as a result to exposure to the strange gravatoinic radiation of the chamber? Perhaps everyone can feather fall once per day as a spell-like ability? And if they encounter a second chamber, maybe double exposure means they can each levitate once per day… and so on…

Or maybe they just get to gather up adamantine caltrops!

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Tanks Without Aggro

Many computer games have an “aggro mechanic,” which determines who NPCs are going to attack. This makes it easy to design “tank” classes, who have the tactical role of encouraging people to attack them( and surviving that attack) simply by giving them a power that causes the NPC to do that.

In tabletop there are mixed feelings on aggro mechanics. I’ve done some myself, but they were in the context of WarQuest World, a microsetting designed to use a tabletop game to simulate the genre of real-world people stuck playing in a fantasy world that modeled the rules of an MMO.

Some people love tabletop aggro rules, because they feel fighters and related classes need *some* way to encourage foes to attack them. This helps fighters do one of the things they do well (soak up a lot of damage) even when facing foes they have trouble damaging.0

But within a typical Pathfinder campaign, the rules shouldn’t be as heavy-handed as WarQuest World’s are. Otherwise they feel too bolted-on, and too much like the rule exists to be a rule, rather than existing to be an option that makes sense within the context of the game’s reality. So, here are two ideas IF you want to make tanking a broader option, but don’t want a formal aggro mechanic. I present them as feats, but they could just as well be class features for archetypes, magic abilities placed in weapons, and so on.

(A quick aside — these first two feats assume the officially-revised Antagonize feat, found here)

Improved Antagonize (Combat)

You are skill at raising your foe’s ire.
Prerequisites: Antagonize.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks required to employ the Antagonize feat, and may make such checks as move actions. You can use either skill to produce either effect, and can target a creature with each once per day. You can use these on creatures that do not the understand you. If you have wild empathy, you can use them on animals, magical beasts and vermin with an Intelligence of 3 or lower.

Greater Antagonize (Combat)

No one is better than you at royally pissing someone off.
Prerequisites: Antagonize, Improved Antagonize.
Benefit: Your bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks required to employ the Antagonize feat increases to +4, and you may make such checks in place of an attack when you take the full attack action. When you successfully damage a foe you have used Antagonize against in the past 24 hours, you reset how soon you can next use this feat on them as if you had not used it in the past 24 hours.

(This next ability works off the same principle as a witch’s cackle — it’s not that there’s any artificial forcing of foes attacking you, it’s just that you get so annoying GMs think it’s smart to attack you).

Champion’s Benediction (Combat)

When you focus your will against a foe, things go badly for them.
Prerequisites: No access to casting spells or spell-like abilities from class features.
Benefit: As a swift action, select one foe that has a spell or effect or condition with a duration measured in rounds that was placed upon it by an ally. The next round does not count against that effect’s duration, causing it to last one more round than normal.

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Worldbuilding Tips: Divine Patrons of Crime

One fun way for a GM to bring a world to life in the minds of players is to introduce one or more really interesting criminal organizations. Whether they are an open

And ultimately if your organization is going to survive in a high fantasy setting, you likely need someone in your corner in the afterlife. A divine patron is a god that supports the criminal empire despite (or because of) its activities.

In many campaigns this is an evil or chaotic god with crime as a secondary concern, but things don’t have to be that simple. At the very least, it may be more fun to have most crime families be faithful to an evil or chaotic god, but allow one or two that instead revere a neutral or even good-aligned god who just happens to have a fringe of lawbreaking followers. In addition to deepening the sense that this is a thriving world (rather than a monolithic setting where all assassins worship the god of assassin, and I suppose all candlestick makers worship the god of wax), this also sets the PCs up to be more willing to work with the non-evil-deity-associated crime syndicate. “Sure, the Silent Sisters are thieves and blackmailers, but at least they follow a god that appreciates the skill of a job well done, and instructs them to keep their word. You can kinda trust them, unlike the Crimson Knives, who are devoted to murder and lies.”

When looking at domain options for a crime god beyond chaos and evil, trickery is an equally good, and actually has a thievery subdomain. The arson subdomain is perfect for groups that use fire to eliminate enemies… or turn a profit with insurance. The subdomain of espionage would also cover blackmailers and extorters.

It’s not difficult to go even further by one step. A god of with the industry subdomain might support hard-working criminals because they put in long hours and master their trade. A god with the traps subdomain might support them as people who revere and learn about traps, even if it is to bypass them. While a god of community might seem to be antithetical to a criminal organization, a true crime family might qualify as a community of its own, or a god with the cooperation subdomain might support the organized part of organized crime. Even a god of law might be the patron of a criminal empire, if the god is focused on the subdomain of tyranny, and the criminals ruthless in enforcement of their own code.

Nor does the god have to be primarily a god of crime. Imagine a neutral deity with community, trade, competition, language, and imagination. The god might be primarily a god of those who combine business, words, and creative solutions, such as actors, bards, crafting guilds, and teachers. But the same god might accept that if you think far enough outside the box, you end up outside the law as well. Crime exists no for crime’s sake, but to be a backdoor for trade where legitimate business fails, and an arena where fast-talk and quick thinking are put to the limit. Actors and other performers were often considered the same kind of lower class as thieves and frauds, so giving them all a common god helps establish a classic trope.

Not everyone in the organization may worship their divine patron, but most of the major local leaders do, and the rest know what priests they can and can’t go to for support, or at least sanctuary. And, of course, if the god has anything to do with luck, it’s likely worthwhile to make a gift to the church before a job. Sure, that’s divine extortion… but that’s the racket.

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Flumph Noir

Aberrant Report

It was a humid night, as Mhuoomphies forced air out his cloaca to hover pensively by the office window. It was the kind of night where a tentacle might be slick with something other than condensation.

His office was cluttered with images, each a fuzzy impression of a scene, projected from crystals floating apparently at random about the room. He reached out with a 7-tentacle, the scarred one, and spun one of the crystals. The out-of-focus image spun with it, the psychic impression of a witness, able to be seen from any angle.

The witnesses all thought they knew what they had seen, but both the perfect psionic impressions of their true recollection and long experience told Mhuoomphies otherwise. Creatures thought their memories were perfect images, ingrained forever like stone carvings. But the mind of a sentient didn’t work that way. Emotions, distractions, preconceived notions, and bigotry flavored everything any thinking creature remembered. In the flumph’s experience, many evils could be traced to different creatures having different memories of the same events.

But there were hints of the truth in the memory-crystal’s images as well. Certainly SOMETHING had happened. The image of the adolescent iron-eater, rolled on her back, antennae straight in fear and shock, were similar in most of the images. Some showed her as larger or more aggressive, but metal-users usually despised and misunderstood iron-eaters. And even those who remembered the event as the adolescent iron-eater’s fault remembered the position of her body, on it’s back, wing-tail raised in defense. They might think they remembered her being the attacker, but they were fooling themselves.

The true attacker was shown in fewer memories, and the image was much more indistinct. A red cloak was featured in more than half, but Mhuoomphies was suspicious of that. There had been a great deal of blood. Sentients often added red to a scene where blood had been splashed like cheap ale.

The creature had been tall… maybe. Hunched… maybe. Neither detail was shown in more than a quarter of the memory images. And one, just one, showed an arm made of a swarm of roaches jutting out from a crimson robe, rather than a cloak.

That memory was alone in that detail, but it was otherwise so crisp. And it made Mhuoomphies port outage nozzle whistle a low, sad sound. He had never hoped so strongly for a witness to be unreliable.

Because the young iron-eater had been killed, and he hoped it was either a simple hate crime, or a political gambit to convince the iron-eaters to do their mining for a smaller share of the ferrous metals they unearthed. Those were terrible reasons to kill, but there weren’t any good reasons. The young iron-eater was dead, and the flumph couldn’t change that. If the reason for her death was simple, he could gain justice quickly. He would have no living help.

When an aberrant race died, none of the breathing Lamplighters took it seriously. Aboleth crime lords and cloaked gangs had eroded any goodwill bipedal vertebrates felt for all his kind. And even those who wanted to care had too many other crimes on their plate. Only Mhuoomphies had the time to investigate such crimes, and only he was trusted by anyone in the Aberrant communities.

And with iron-eaters on strike, and the dark naga pressing for full voting rights, this needed to get handled fast. Even the Metalhearts might decide…

The flumph’s office door burst opened, the brief scream of its metal lock bending and shattering the only warning before it gave way. A lurking metallic humanoid stood in the doorway, a bullseye lantern in its chest leaking light through the cracks, despite being shuttered.

“You are the Aberrant Lamplighter, Muffles?”

Two of the flumph’s starboard vents honked quietly in annoyance. He pursed his feedhole, and forced air through it to emulate the annoying, imperfect language of the bipeds. He also pooled caustics into his adamantine-tipped primespike, in case the creature was hostile, rather than just dangerously bumbling.

“Mhuoomphies.” he correct the intruder. “ArchLantern, Mhuoomphies.”

The metallic creature nodded once.

“I am Malakrut. I am a fresh forged Spark. The LawKeepers have assigned me to assist and monitor your efforts to enforce the laws of DarkStar Station, in the matter of a slain iron-eater in the abnormals district.”

Mhuoomphies felt himself relax, and sucked his caustics back into their reservoir. Of course he would be saddled with a rookie to report his every misstep.

It was Inevitable.

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Diesel Pulp Australian Units

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Working on more minis for my Diesel Pulp setting. These are three “Kelly Heavies,” from Australia’s legendary Armored Rangers. While medium and heavy infantry doctrine varies from country to country, and many ended up simply slapping what heavy infantry they could scrounge into heavy weapon platoons, only Australia built custom-purpose advanced scouting units that combined light, medium, and heavy infantry (generally known as Bushrangers, Kellies, and Kelly Heavies, respectively).

The idea behind armor scout units was to operate far from the front lines, make detailed reports about conditions, and engage in targeted strikes where a small force could potentially make a large difference. Bridges, passes, pillboxes, observation posts, field airports, and headquarters were favorite targets. Bushrangers would move as far ahead as possible, with one Kelly each in support if they ran into a small enemy unit (generally infantry or cavalry). Only if a viable target was found would Kelly Heavies be employed, each directed to an advantageous firing position by a Bushranger, where the Kelly Heavy could employ their Australian-built Owen Gun Shields, with their machine carbine and integral HEAT launchers.

Armored Scouts were consistently the most effective units including heavy infantry throughout the Global War, their tactics honed in part due to Australia’s much longer history with armored infantry, dating back to the 1890s Bush Battles against the Martian tripods in and around Victoria. Kelly Heavies, in particular, were designed with much heavier armor in front, especially on the head and chest, and lighter armor over the rest of the infantry fighter. Because they generally engaged in battle supported by more mobile units, Kelly Heavies could reliably face the source of the heaviest enemy fire and depend on support to alert them from threats outside their narrow field of vision. While no heavy infantry could survive direct hits from anti-materiel weapons, Kelly Heavies could take glancing blows to the heaviest section of their armor, and hold up to direct hits from most anti-personnel weapons. As a result, “damaged” Kelly Heavies were much more common than other heavy infantry units (which generally didn’t survive being hit by anything heavy enough to do significant damage).

I’m making an effort to make these miniatures more dinged-up than I normally try for, but they are otherwise fairly stock.

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Flunkies

In many ways, this is the companion piece to Mythic Boss Monsters.

Two of the problems with trying to run big encounters in Pathfinder are that the game often gets bogged down of the GM has to keep track of what four or more different creatures can do, and it’s tough to find low-CR creatures that remain effective in groups of 4 or 8, since that requires them to face PCs 4 or 6 levels higher than their CRs.

Yet, many storylines call for battles with 4, 8, or even more antagonists, and boss monsters often need henchmonsters to compete with player character’s action economies, and to prevent a single lucky roll from ending an encounter to soon (and unsatisfyingly). What some encounters need, are flunkies.

The idea for flunkies owe a great debt to the mooks of Feng Shui and minions of 4e D&D. This idea is far from original, this is just a specific implementation.

A single creature becomes four flunkies. Each flunky has its own set of actions each round, takes damage and suffers conditions separately, and they can be as far apart and independent as they want, but for purposes of determining CR treat all four flunkies as a single monster of their type.
*Each of the flunkies has 1/5 the hit points of the base creature
*If flunkies have abilities with limited uses per day, all the flunkies must share that limit. For example if you make a cyclops into a set of four cyclops flunkies, only one of them can use flash of insight each day.
*A Flunky does not target the same creature another flunky has already damaged this round, unless it has no other target.
*If multiple flunkies are caught in the same damaging area, they divide the damage taken by the number of flunkies in the area. For example, if you catch three flunkies in a fireball, each flunky takes 1/3 the damage it normally would. to avoid dealing with this math, most GMs try to spread out flunkies.

Flunkies are limited in numerous additional ways.
*Flunkies cannot score critical hits.
*All flunkies deal ½ damage. Any effect, condition, or spell a flunky imposes on a PC has a maximum duration of 4 rounds. Even a flunky medusa only has the power to petrify a target for 4 rounds, max. Damage, unconsciousness, and death work normally.
*Critical threats against flunkies always confirm. If the critical threat is with an attack with an x3 or greater crit multiplier, the critical hit instantly kills the flunky.
*Flunkies take a -5 penalty to AC.
*Flunky treasure is often added to their boss’s treasure. It’s all trickle down, man.

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Mythic Boss Monster

So, I recently posted some thoughts on updating monster feats inot Mythic Monster Feats, and that got me to thinking.

What would brand-new mythic monster abilities look like?

Mythic Boss Monster (Mythic, Monster)
You are not some mere wandering speedbump. You are a major threat, and part of the plot.
Prerequisite: Considered by GM to be an NPC threat that should be an epic fight, mythic tier 2 or higher.
Benefit: You have two hit point pools. To calculate the size of these pools, multiple your HP total by ([100%], + 10% x mythic tier), and divide the result by 2. When you take damage, or are healed, or gain temporary hit points, you may apply that effect to either hit point pool.
As long as you have two pools, you may take two full sets of actions (as if you were two creatures, but limited to your single location). Your second set of actions occur at your initiative total -10. So if your initiative total is 14, you take one round worth of actions on 14, and another set at initiative count 4. If you take an action that alters one of your initiative totals (such as readying an action), it does not impact the initiative of your second set of actions. However, at the beginning of each round, your second set of actions have their initiative total reset to your first set of actions, -10.
If you take effects or penalties that impact your actions (be that penalties, conditions that restrict what actions you can take or even charms and compulsions), you can assign that to one of your hit point totals. However, things that affect where you can move to or how fast you move (such as being connected to a foe by a lasso) affect both sets of actions. You can choose which HP pool to assign each condition or penalty to, but once you make that decision it cannot be changed. Any actions you take as a result of that HP pool suffer the penalties and conditions assigned to it.
For example, The Executioner of Minol is mythic tier 4 a Huge minotaur boss monster, with the Mythic Boss Monster feat. He has 120 hit point, which means each of his HP pools has (120 x [140%], /2 =) 105 hit points. He receives two full sets of actions each round, which happen to occur at initiative count 19 and 9. In the first round of combat he is struck by a flesh to stone, and is petrified. He desides to assign that effect to his HP acting at initiative 9. At initiative 19 he can act normally, ignoring the fact one HP pool is petrified except for the fact it prevents him from leaving his square. The GM describes his flesh turning to stone in broad streaks, his roar of anger, and the fact that while he can’t walk, he is swinging his axe at the offending sorcerer who petrified him.
Even the death of one HP pool does not stop a mythic boss monster (though the dead HP pool can’t take any actions, reducing the mythic boss monster to one set of actions each round). If there are actions a mythic boss monster can only use a limited number of times per day, those options can be used that number of times per day by each HP pool.
Special: A boss monster has double the normal treasure. Fair’s fair.

Mythic Unique Monster (Mythic, Monster)
You are more than just a mythic monster. You have a backstory, goals, history, and set of traits no less special and unique than a player character.
Prerequisite: GM gives you a proper name, and at least some actual backstory.
Benefit: When taking monster feats, you can ignore any prerequisites other than mythic ties. The DC to identify you with a Knowledge check increases by 5 per mythic tier. Creatures that have not recognized you gain no special bonuses against you due to your type or subtype, such as from favored enemies or even the bane magic weapon quality.

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Additional Snow Rules

While snow is covered in Chapter Thirteen: Environment of the pathfinder Roleplaying game Core Rulebook, there are some additional rules I’d personally use if snow is a major element for a specific adventure, but not a common part of a campaign overall.

Adaptation: Creatures with both the cold subtype and native to a cold environment, and those with the cold subtype and a natural climb speed, ignore all rules to perception, getting lost, and movement from snow.

Light snowfall: Very light snowfall produces less than an inch of snow per day. It does not impact visibility or flames. It actually gives a +4 bonus to Survival checks to track anyone who has passed by since the snowfall stopped, since their prints are outlined.

Snowfall: Normal snowfall reduced visibility enough that a character may get lost in the wilds when it is snowing this hard. See Getting Lost, in the Wilderness section of Chapter Thirteen: Environment. If there is an additional effect in addition to the snow that might cause characters to get lost, any Survival check to avoid getting lost takes a -4 penalty.

Heavy Snowfall: When it is snowing this hard, a character can get lost outside even within an urban environment, but may make a Knowledge (local) check rather than a Survival check to avoid this. Also, a character in a wilds environment takes a -4 penalty to a Survival check to avoid getting lost. If there is an additional effect in addition to the snow that might cause characters to get lost, any Survival check to avoid getting lost takes a -4 penalty. See Getting Lost, in the Wilderness section of Chapter Thirteen: Environment.

Heavy snowstorms and blizzards also reduce the effectiveness of fire attacks. Creatures vulnerable to fire do not take additional fire damage if they are in a heavy snowstorm or blizzard.

Whiteout: The most powerful of blizzards cause whiteout conditions. This grants everything more than 5 feet away total concealment (even from sound-based blindsight and blindsense), and anything close standard concealment. Check to avoid getting lost take a -20 penalty, and must be made every 10 minutes. Whiteout conditions last from a few minutes to a few hours, and can drop 1d4 feet of snow per hour.

If a character is in snow deeper than they are tall, this is similar to being stuck in an avalanche. Buried characters take 1d6 points of nonlethal cold damage per hour, in addition to any cold hazard. If a buried character falls unconscious, he must make a DC 15 Constitution check or take 1d6 points of lethal damage every ten minutes thereafter until freed or dead. See Cave-Ins and Collapses for rules on digging out buried creatures.

Snow Creatures

You can turn any creature into a snow creature by giving it the cold subtype, moving it to a cold terrain, and giving it a climb speed equal to 1/2 its movement rate. While the CR of a cold creature it not increased in general, an encounter with one or more cold creatures in a snowstorm or blizzard has an ad hoc +1 CR adjustment.

For example, the Blue Orrocs of the northern Basalt Mountains are famed for their dark blue-to-purple coloration and their raids made into the lowlands during blizzards and winter storms.

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A Partial List of Very Supers Words

As a companion piece to the (partial, revised) List of Very Fantasy Words, here are real, not newly-minted, words and phrases I very rarely encounter outside a Supers RPG or story.

*Alter-ego
*Archenemy
*Cowl
*Domino mask
*Henchman
*League
*Mastermind
*Many impact-based onomatopoeias (Blam, Pow, Woosh)
*Mutant (yes, some post-apocalyptic sources as well, but weirdly those are by far the minority)
*Rogues Gallery
*Secret Identity
*Super-powers
*Superhero (though beyond the obvious ties to the genre, there are actually BS legal reasons why the word superhero is only common in DC and Marvel products).
*Supreme (except I confess, as a pizza description, which is more common)
*Syndicate
*Villain (and, even more so, super-villain)

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100 Questions for your RPG Group: 61-70

After a break for the holidays, 100 Questions is back! We’re a good deal more than halfway through the list, so let’s see if we can get these released in a timely manner now?

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirable group members. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly stuff.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

61-70: Gamer Superstitions

Roleplaying games vary widely, from rule- and math-heavy tactical exercises, to story-based activities designed to work with a group all working together, but a surprising number of “gamer superstitions” are common in a wide range of groups. It can be worth examining what these are, why people observe them, and how serious such observances are.

  1. Do you play along with ideas of gamer superstition for fun, despite not believing them, or secretly believe such things without publicly acknowledging them? Are there any you take so seriously having others dismiss them is hurtful or worrying to you?
  1. Do you believe in lucky dice? Or a lucky die-rolling method, or chant that accompanies important roles?
  1. Within the bounds of normal personal space and courtesy, do you care who touches your dice? Does a stranger touching the, annoy or worry you? Do you believe rubbing them on a game designer or GM increases their luck?
  1. Do you feel your luck, or the general luck of your dice, is impacted by loaning your dice to other people who need them? Or borrowing dice when yours aren’t available?
  1. Do you have any rituals regarding your gaming materials? Do you believe a custom figure helps your character succeed? Do you place dice in order from least to most sides, sit them with a desired result showing when they are not in use? Do you think hand-written character sheets have more mojo than computer-generated or e-sheets? Do you pre-roll your dice before making actual game-relevant rolls, to see which dice are doing well, or try to pre-remove any undesired result?
  1. Do you feel a character, or a campaign, or an adventure can be cursed? That some unknown force actually makes some element of the game impact randomly determined elements of the game?
  1. Do you believe your typical results of randomized elements of tabletop or electronic games is better or worse than average? Do you think that such a history, if accurate, is a predictor of future results that are statistically anomalous? Do you think such a predictor, if it exists, should be considered when determining the balance or appropriateness of game options you select?
  1. Are their events outside your control you believe influences your luck or success in a game? Do you feel there is music that makes a character more likely to succeed, or that playing on a holiday or birthday gives you an edge unexplained by statistics?
  1. Do you feel the way one character dies impacts the fate of the next one beyond decisions made by players and GM? Do you think a character dying heroically in game blesses your next character, or giving up and abandoning a character curses your next one? Are there any ways to avoid these positive or negative influences, if you believe in them?
  1. Regardless of your own beliefs, are there any game superstitions of others you enjoy watching? Are there any that annoy you, or negatively impact your ability to enjoy a game?

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