Saturday, June 15, 2019

Bitterly Cold Conditions

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear; and the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear. The white land locked tight as a drum and cold fear that follows and finds you, with a silence that bludgeons you dumb.

These harsh, biting temperatures create dangerous conditions, made worse by long nights and darkness for a good portion of the year, the presence of snow and occasionally blizzards. Frostbite and hypothermia are legitimate threats but are usually controllable over short periods. Exposed skin can be borne for brief encounters but bring on numbness quickly.

Discomfort caused by these bitter conditions is affected by wind speed, air temperature and humidity, slowing travel and making outdoor work challenging and often dangerous. Frostbite times take this into account. Air taken into the lungs over long periods wears down the body, while exposed flesh soon needs to be covered again. Numbness of the hands and lower legs is common but not insurmountable as long as good clothing and precautions are taken. Relative temperatures with the wind can drop below -40, -50 or even -60 degrees, producing arctic and even potentially polar conditions.

Clothing

Needed insulation: 6.63. Suggested clothing includes, a) below the waist: loin cloth, hose, stockings, breeches (linen), trousers (gabardine), boots (fur) and boot covers (leather); b) above the waist: shirt (woollen), doublet, robe, jacket (gabardine), mantle, mittens (knitwear), mittens (outer fur), hat (wool), hat (fur), scarf (woollen). Overtop of this should be worn a full woollen jumper and a heavy coat (fur). This ensemble will provide sufficient insulation for one hour of standing guard outside.

Hypothermia

The danger of hypothermia will occur if the character performs more than six minutes of hard physical work, in particular combat. Because of the amount of insulation, whatever the weather, once the 13th combat round has been completed, or heavy work performed, the character will begin to sweat. After that has begun, the character can continue to act for up to two more minutes or 10 more rounds before a constitution check must be made against hypothermia.

A failure will indicate the character has caught a chill. A shudder, and then dizziness will seize the character, causing whomever to drop what they have in their hands and stagger away from combat. The character must find shelter within 8-20 minutes or they will become delirious and act unconsciously. Death in this weather will follow within 21 to 40 minutes, +4 per point of constitution.

See Temperature Grades

Arctic Conditions

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over a northern trail. Talk of your cold! Through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail. If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see.  It wasn't much fun but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

These inhospitable, biting hibernal temperatures create highly dangerous conditions, made worse by darkness half the year, the presence of snow, the threat of white-out conditions and the danger of severe frostbite or hypothermia. Exposed skin must always be guarded against.

The hardship of these conditions is affected by wind speed, air temperature and humidity, making travel difficult and outdoor work very dangerous. Frostbite times take this into account. Air taken into the lungs over long periods wears down the body, while exposed flesh can become acutely distressing. Even the most protective clothing will not sustain the body for more than a few hours. Fingers become numb, the throat dry and as relative temperatures dip below -50, -60 or even -70 degrees, polar conditions and threats occur.

Clothing

Needed insulation: 7.215. Suggested clothing includes, a) below the waist: loin cloth, hose, stockings, breeches (linen), trousers (gabardine), boots (fur) and boot covers (leather); b) above the waist: shirt (woollen), doublet, robe, jacket (gabardine), mantle, mittens (knitwear), mittens (outer fur), hat (wool), hat (fur), scarf (woollen). Overtop of this should be worn a full woollen jumper, heavy coat (wool) and a heavy coat (fur). This ensemble will provide sufficient insulation for one hour of standing guard outside.

Hypothermia

The danger of hypothermia will occur if the character performs more than two minutes of hard physical work, in particular combat. Because of the amount of insulation, whatever the weather, once the 8th combat round has been completed, or heavy work performed, the character will begin to sweat. After that has begun, the character can continue to act for up to one more minute or 5 more rounds before a constitution check must be made against hypothermia.

A failure will indicate the character has caught a chill. A shudder, and then dizziness will seize the character, causing whomever to drop what they have in their hands and stagger away from combat. The character must find shelter within 4-10 minutes or they will collapse and lose consciousness. Death in this weather will follow within 11-30 minutes, +2 per point of constitution.

See Temperature Grades

Polar Conditions

The short-lived sun had a leaden glare and the darkness came too soon, then the winter fell with a sudden swoop and the heavy clouds sagged low, and earth and sky were blotted out in a whirl of driving snow.

These intense, inhospitable frigid temperatures create extremely dangerous conditions, made worse by darkness through much of the year, the presence of snow, the threat of white-out conditions and the danger of severe frostbite or hypothermia. Exposed skin, even around the eyes, is a hazard that must be guarded against.

The misery of these conditions is affected by wind speed, air temperature and humidity, making travel difficult and outdoor work very dangerous. As air is taken into the lungs over long periods, even the most protective clothing will not sustain the body for more than a few hours, as relative temperatures dip below -50, -60 or even -70 degrees. Frostbite times are based on these brutal possible conditions. Any exposed flesh becomes painful. As air enters the lungs, characters will experience an ache in the chest, chilling from the inside out. It becomes difficult to take deep breaths without reflexively coughing, until the lungs fill with blood and life is threatened. Numbness is a constant challenge to any activity.

Clothing

Needed insulation: 7.80. Suggested clothing includes, a) below the waist: loin cloth, hose, stockings, breeches (linen), trousers (gabardine), boots (fur) and boot covers (leather); b) above the waist: shirt (woollen), doublet, robe, jacket (gabardine), mantle, mittens (knitwear), mittens (outer fur), hat (wool), hat (fur), scarf (woollen). Overtop of this should be worn a full woollen jumper, overcoat (gabardine), heavy coat (fur) and a cowl (fur). This ensemble will provide sufficient insulation for one hour of standing guard outside.

Hypothermia

The danger of hypothermia will occur if the character performs more than a minute of hard physical work, including combat. Because of the amount of insulation, whatever the weather, once the 5th combat round has been completed, or heavy work performed, the character will begin to sweat. After that has begun, the character can continue to act for up to one more minute or 5 more rounds before a constitution check must be made against hypothermia.

A failure will indicate the character has caught a chill. A shudder, and then dizziness will seize the character, causing whomever to drop what they have in their hands and stagger away from combat. The character must find shelter within 2-5 minutes or they will collapse and lose consciousness. Death in this weather will follow within 5-20 minutes, +1 per point of constitution.

See Temperature Grades

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Measurements

What follows are definitions of measurements, objects and units that are standardized in my game world, particularly for use with my equipment prices table. As my world takes place in the early 1650s of Earth’s history, the measurement units used are imperial and not metric. Metric equivalents are not given below (they would not exist for characters dwelling in the 17th century). The list includes some items whose characteristics enable their use as shorthand through the game (such as the common parlance of “a flask of oil”).

Please leave a comment about any measurement or item that may be missing, so that I’m able to add to the list.

Area

     Acre: an area of land that is one chain (66 ft.) in width by one furlong (660 ft.) in length. Described as the total area that could be ploughed in one day by a team. A “bovate” is an amount of land that a single ox can plough in a season, in time to get crops in (15 acres), whereas a “virgate” is the amount of land a pair of oxen can plough in the same time (30 acres). A “carucate” is 120 acres.
     Combat Hex: a map-hex used for combat, five feet in diameter and equal to 21.7 sq.ft.
     Flemish Ell: a cloth measure, equal to ¾ of a yard. Approximately the same as a cubit.
     Hide: an area of four to eight bovates (60-120 acres); a unit of crop yield rather than area, equal to 1,620 bushels of grain. It measures the amount of land able to support a single household (2.5 mil. calories) for agricultural and taxation purposes.
     Hundred: consisting of 100 hides, which might be anywhere from 40 to 60 sq.m., with non-arable or untilled land included.  Theoretically able to supply or support 100 men under arms. Multiple hundreds are grouped together to form “lathes,” which are then subdivisions of “counties,” each of non-fixed sizes. Most manor estates are between a half and a full hundred.
     Knight’s fee: consisting of five hides, approximately 0.7 sq.m. A knight’s fee was expected to produce one fully equipped soldier for a knight’s retinue in times of war. The amount of land deemed sufficient to support one knight.
     Six-mile hex: a map hex used to provide regional-sized maps. Approximately 6.667 miles in diameter, with an area of 2¾ hundreds (or ten 2-mile hexes).
     Square foot: A small area 12 inches by 12 inches; see length, below.
     Square mile: An area of 640 acres. Used for measuring large areas.
     Square yard: An area of 9 square feet. Typically used to measure cloth.
     Twenty-mile hex: a map hex used for large scale sheet maps of the world. 20 miles in diameter, with an area of 346 sq.m. (24½ hundreds), or ten 6-mile hexes.
     Two-mile hex: a map-hex used to provide local details surrounding player lands and adventures. Approximately 2.222 miles in diameter, with an area of 2,737 acres or 30 hides.

Length

     Chain: a distance of 4 rods, or 66 feet (22 yards), equal to the length of an acre as it is usually measured for farming. Surveyors used 66 ft. long chains in their work.
     Combat hex: a distance of 5 feet, used to measure distances in combat; see above.
     Foot: equal to 12 inches, based upon the averaged foot length of 16 random adult males, as described by Jacob Koebel.
      Furlong: a distance of 10 chains, 40 rods or 660 feet (220 yards). Described as the distance a team of oxen could plough without resting. A popular measure for horse and foot racing.
     Hand: equal to 4 inches, based on the breadth of a human hand. Used to measure the height of horses.
     Inch: equal to 1⁄12 of a foot. Approximately the width of a human thumb.
     League: a distance of three nautical miles, variously 3 miles (on land) or 3.452 miles (at sea). Said to be the comfortable distance a person can walk in an hour.
     Mile: a distance of 8 furlongs, 80 chains or 5,280 ft. (1,760 yards). Most common unit to measure large distances.
     Mile, Nautical: 6,076 feet, used only in maritime navigation, as a knot (see below) is defined as one nautical mile per hour.
     Rod: a distance of 5½ yards, or 16½ feet. Used to measure an acre for ploughing, which is typically equal to 40 rods by 4 rods (long furrows reduced the need of turning a team of oxen, which was difficult). There are 19 furrows in the width of a rod.
     Yard: equal to 3 feet or 36 inches, rarely used, typically for the measurement of sports events.

Mass & Weight

     Carat: equal to 4 grains, not to be confused with the unit of purity of gold alloys, spelled “karat.” The most common unit for measuring pearls and precious stones. A “paragon” is a flawless stone of at least 100 carats.
     Grain: a measure based on the weight of a single grain of barley, considered equivalent to 1⅓ grains of wheat. A unit used for medicines and sometimes by jewellers to measure pearls, diamonds and other precious stones.
     Dram: a measure equal to approximately 27⅓ grains, used for measuring coins and precision metalwork for clock making, tools and detailed work. A gold coin weighs 1.836 drams.
     Dose: a measurement for poisons, gripcolle, Epson salts and more, varying from 1 to 4 drams depending on the substance.
     Ounce: equal to 16 drams and 437½ grains, used to measure hundreds of different materials and foodstuffs.
     Pennyweight: equal to 24 grains or 6 carats, like the dram used for the measurement of precious metals. Jewellers, lapidaries and engravers prefer to use the pennyweight over the dram.
     Pound: equal to 16 ounces or 64 drams (7,000 grains). Standard unit of weight for most heavier objects and for calculating encumbrance.
     Stone: equal to 14 lbs., standardized units for merchant trading in raw materials such as wool, fibres, ores and other cart and wagon loads. Live animals are often weighed in stone.
     Ton: equal to 2,000 lbs. or nearly 142⅞ stone, used for the measurement of large capacities, loads and seagoing vessels. Not to be confused with the “tun” used to measure capacity.

Speed

     Knot: used when travelling on water, measures one nautical mile per hour, derived from measuring speed with a knotted rope (the knots 47 ft., 3 in. apart) and a 30-second sand glass.

Volume

     Barrel: made of oak or comparable material, 63 gallon capacity, with bung and six iron hoops for strength. Used for brewing and carrying water. Also called a hogshead.
     Basin: made of glass, stone or pottery, standardized size for a religious font (32 fl. oz.).
     Bottle: glass container with cork for beer and other liquids, 12.7 oz. capacity.
     Bottle (wine): unusually sized glass bottle specifically for wine storage, with a 25.36 fl. oz. capacity.
     Bushel: a dry measure of volume equal to 4 pecks (about 0.822 cub.ft.). A bushel of coal weighs much more than a bushel of wheat grains.
     Cord: a unit of dry volume to measure firewood, describing logs that are “racked and well stowed,” measuring 128 cubic feet. Depending on the density of the wood, this is typically a woodpile 4 feet high, 8 feet long and 4 feet deep.
     Cup: a cooking measure equal to 8 fluid ounces or 64 fluid drams.
     Dram (fluid): an apothecary’s measure, used to define the volume of medicines and powders. Equal to a teaspoon (which in the 17th century was smaller, so that there were four teaspoons to a tablespoon).
     Fishpot: ceramic pot, 2½ in. tall and 3 in. diameter, 4 fluid ounce capacity, with softwood lid sealed with pitch. Used for fish and very pungent substances.
     Flask: ceramic bottle, 6 in. tall, 2½ in. diameter, 8 fl. oz. capacity, used for lamp oil, magical potions and other liquids.
     Gallon: equal to 4 quarts or 8 pints (160 fl. oz.), used for measuring large amounts of liquid.
     Gallon (dry): a dry measure used to measure grain and other dry commodities, equal to about 8 lbs. of wheat grain (being a measure of volume, about 0.103 cub.ft.).
     Gill: equal to 5 fluid ounces, or 40 drams; a standard measure of small amounts of distilled spirits.  A “nip” of spirits is ¼ of a gill, or 1¼ fluid ounces.
     Gluepot: pottery container for soft pastes and resin, 3 in. tall, 4 in. diameter, with softwood lid sealed with pitch and 8 fl. oz. capacity.
     Hogshead: equal to 63 gallons; see barrel.
     Inkwell: bottle for ink, 2 fl. oz. capacity, 1 in. tall, 2 in. diameter, with cork plug. Also used for magical ink.
     Jack: one half gills, or 2½ fluid ounces. Used to measure tiny bottles of medicine or spirits.
     Jar (glass): short container for multiple uses, 3 in. diameter and 3 in. tall, with 8 fl. oz. capacity. Includes cork lid (which, when lost, is usually replaced with piece of cloth and a tie-string).
     Jigger: equal to 1½ fluid ounces, typically used to measure spirits in a tavern.
     Jug: ceramic container, equal to 16 fl. oz., commonly used as a temporary container for serving.
     Keg: wooden with 6 narrow iron bands, has a 21 quart capacity, or five gallons plus one quart; used for transporting water and beverages on the backs of animals.
     Ounce (fluid): equal to the weight of 1 ounce of water, or 8 fluid drams. Customarily used to measure liquids.
     Peck: a dry measure equal to 2 dry gallons (about 0.205 cub.ft.).
     Phial: glass vessel, 1 fl. oz. capacity, used for essential oils, acids, apothecary’s ingredients and other precious contents.
     Pint: equal to 4 gills or 20 fluid ounces. Popular for steins for tavern beer, also standard for clay flasks.
     Pot (apothecary’s): usually fashioned out of clay, 3 fl. oz. capacity, used for paste and poisons. Features tiny feet and a clay lid that is tied in place or cemented with sealing wax.
     Pottle: equal to 2 quarts. Used for the storage of milk and sometimes wine.
     Quart: equal to 2 pints or 40 fl. oz. Used commonly as a measure for sold cream or milk, or to measure the capacity of large cooking ware.
     Tun: describes a enormous cask used to measure wine, oil or honey, with a capacity of four hogsheads or 252 gallons. In some parts of France, three puncheons equals a tun.
     Vial: glass container, 4 fl. oz. capacity, used for various apothecary’s contents.

See Adventure, The

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Parley & Negotiation

A parley is a discussion between potential and ongoing enemies regarding the possibilities of free passage, a truce or temporary cessation of hostilities. When offered, enemies with an intelligence of 11 or more will nearly always accept the offer, except where a blood feud or like desire for personal revenge is involved. Too, persons of any intelligence are very unlikely to agree to a parley with any known malevolent entity such as a demon, devil or known member of the undead.

Parley provides opportunity for negotiation, in which parties barter to gain benefits for themselves while giving reassurance and benefits to the other side. Negotiation is carried out almost wholly through role-play … but wise player characters will put themselves in the shoes of the other party, actively listen to what’s being said, speak with a purpose, find opportunities to act inconsistently with their own positions (bend to another’s will to gain advantage in a different way) and strive to “save face,” which is to present an assumption of strength while avoiding humiliation.

A successful parley or negotiation requires a willing listener. The most likely listener is one that shares the character’s outlook, profession, religion and background. Thus, if there is a sailor in the party, that would be the best candidate to talk with sailors; a fighter should be the choice to speak with a guard; a thief with members of the criminal element and so on. The table shown gives a list of modifiers to the character’s charisma, based on the listener’s relationship to the speaker. These modifiers are cumulative.

These modifiers are based on the “first impression” the character makes. Prior to any dialogue, it would be best for every player character to apply these modifiers to their own charisma, to know whether or not beforehand if they should speak.

To “open a conversation,” the character must succeed in making a charisma check, as modified. A failure gives a further -3 modifier to future rolls (from the speaker or other player character), so that an initial failed check can quickly ruin any chance to ask for a parley or initiation negotiations.

A charisma failure with an acquaintance, associate, hireling or follower will produce a dispute or an argument, which will escalate with each further attempt that also ends in failure. With strangers this will end all chance of negotiation, permanently, short of physical force.

Acquaintances are store clerks or other known persons where there exists no real relationship, so a series of failed checks could result in gaining an enemy. Associates are persons of equal status with shared interests and purposes, so a series of failed checks could result in a cutting off of all ties and sharing of information.

Most of the time, there is no need to make any check to have a negotiation with a Hireling. Negotiations are only opened when some part of the hireling’s status or role changes ~ they are asked to do something that is not their job, or their pay is diminished or not being made for pecuniary reasons. In such cases, a series of failed checks would result in the hireling actively quitting; add 3 to their morale. A day after the argument, the hireling can be approached with a “fresh” check (no penalties for earlier failures); if the check succeeds and the hireling succeeds in a morale check, they will come back and work for the employer. Morale will drop by 1 point but the remaining two-point penalty will remain until lost through further actions.

Checks need only be made for negotiations with Followers if they are asked to retain new responsibilities, such as leading a party off somewhere or managing an estate. Because followers are not fanatic like henchmen, they must be convinced. Note that most retainers, when gained by players, have a specific duty ~ such as acting as a standing army for clerics or fighters. These followers do not need to be negotiated with to follow these duties. A series of failed charisma checks will follow the same pattern as with hirelings, except that a week must pass before the follower can be spoken with again ~ during which time they are likely to have set off for another place, whereas a hireling is almost certain to have remained nearby.

See Adventure, The

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Culinary Art (sage ability)

The expansion of food-making craft to the level of artistic achievement, so that not only is superior food prepared for consumption, the overall experience of the food itself is heightened. This translates to an improvement of one degree of effect that is shown on the nutrition & preparation of food effects table.

The food experience is described as ten effects: affliction, diarrhea, vomit, misery, tired, grumpy, no effect, sated, happy and elated. Whatever the rolled result may have been, the culinary artist improves this effect by one degree: affliction becomes diarrhea, diarrhea becomes vomit, vomit becomes misery and so on, up through happy becoming elated. Naturally, this provides a comparative improvement in the diner’s well-being.

Because the skill adds to the previously existing cooking ability, this enables a culinary artist to have a 50% chance of producing elation in the diner, even when the food would have been originally mouth-watering in the hands of an unskilled person.

Note, however, that the effect cannot exceed the best possible result at that level of taste.  The effect of tasty, for example, could not improve to "sated."

See Logistics

Cooking (sage ability)

The craft of preparing superior food for consumption, with additional skill in making dishes which are more healthy and palatable. This translates to an increase in the taste of fare that is cooked by the character, as described in the nutrition & preparation of food rules.

The taste of food is described as ten measures: grub, chow, nosh, savoury, tasty, flavourful, delicious, piquant, mouth-watering and ambrosia. Whatever the tools or space available, a character with the cooking ability will be able to improve taste by one measure: grub becomes chow, chow becomes nosh, nosh becomes savoury and so on. This includes a concomitant improvement in the diner’s response to the food as well, producing a better chance of the character finishing the meal sated, happy or elated, with a corresponding unlikelihood of being grumpy, tired, miserable, vomitous or experiencing diarrhea or a gastro-intestinal affliction.

Cooking also provides the character with an ability to distinguish fresh foods from selective, or recognize when food has spoiled and is inadequate for preparation.

See Logistics

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Cacodaemon (spell)

Range: 10 ft.
Duration: see below
Area of Effect: one creature
Casting Time: 5-8 hours
Saving Throw: none
Level: mage (7th)

A very complex spell that requires considerable time to perform, with the warning that some peril may befall a caster who has not become familiar with the proclivities of demons. Casting requires a space of 15 ft. square, in order that a pentagram and circle may be inscribed by the spell once the enchantment begins.

Within the first two hours or so, the spell will create varying effects and materials which will become part of the ritual. A permanent pentagram, surrounded by a circle, will be etched into the floor, whether stone or wood, to a depth of about an inch ~ evidence that will remain after the spell has been completed. An illuminated piece of vellum will then materialize and levitate about two feet before the caster’s eye level, and for another hour, the somatic efforts of the caster will beautifully illuminate the sheet with words, symbols and bordering. This will roll itself and come to rest within the caster’s reach.

For three to six hours after, the spellcaster will labour intensely to cast his or her gaze into the depths of the Abyss, searching first for the demon that is wanted, then actively waiting to hear the demon’s name spoken in the void so that the demon can be called into the pentagram. During this process, the caster will sweat and breathe heavily, so that by the end, there will be a necessity to drink at least a quart of water and sleep for six hours. The total amount of time for casting ~ 5-8 hours ~ is random.

Once the demon is called, the caster will be faced with a creature that has been rudely drawn from its place of residence into the Prime Material Plane. Naturally, some concern is warranted. However, if the spellcaster is well-versed in the way of demons, there should be little problem. A nalfeshnee will be willing to perform a service for no more than a week, so long as it is given its freedom after. A marilith will seek combat among thousands of enemies, and will be content if this is what’s offered. A balrog will like an isolated lair where it can be installed and left alone. Glabrezu are both obsequious and unpleasant ~ so long as a table is made where it is able to gorge itself, it will consent to providing any service for a day. Hezrou like a sacrifice: a young man or a woman should be prepared in two cages, for it to choose which it prefers, and in exchange it will give information (but nothing else). Vrock are voracious scavengers, and are best called only when a scene, such as after a battle or a murder, needs cleaning up without evidence. Succubi and Incubi are far too independent to be affected by the spell; they will come if summoned, but will not comply with any entreaties or demands.

Woe betide the spellcaster, however, who calls a demon without providing what the demon wants. This will enrage the demon, who will then seek to break the confines of the pentagram. The strength of the pentagram is at best temporary; the caster must snap up the illuminated vellum manuscript that was created and begin reading it aloud, to maintain the integrity of the pentagram.

This requires intelligence as the manuscript’s words are read over and over. Already the caster will be exhausted from casting, so that the caster’s intelligence will have diminished by 1 point per hour needed to complete the spell. Each round that the manuscript is read, while the demon attempts to break its confines, the caster must make an intelligence check. A fail will mean that words on the manuscript were spoken poorly or clumsily, allowing the demon to break the pentagram and act freely.

After each intelligence check succeeds, the caster is allowed a wisdom check. If this is successful, the demon can be cast safely back into the Abyss.

Another spellcaster can read the manuscript once it is created ~ but this second character must be a mage and must be of at least 11th level. They will suffer no penalty to their intelligence, however.

If the spell spiritwrack is cast in the presence of a demon, the demon will immediately recognize the impending spell and be enraged. It is not recommended for use while the demon is inside the pentagram. The demon cannot be affected by death, nor trap the soul, as it hasn’t any life or soul to be stolen away.

See Also,
Mage
Mage 7th Level Spells

Spiritwrack (spell)

Range: 10 ft. + 10 ft. per level
Duration: 4 rounds per level
Area of Effect: one creature
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Saving Throw: negates
Level: mage (6th)

Enables the caster to overcome numerous forms of highly dangerous monsters, particularly those of others planes of existence (demons, devils) and non-corporeal undead (banshee, spectres, ghosts and vampires). The defining stipulation is that these creatures have no soul and are not technically alive, so that they are immune to mind control spells or the sixth level spell, death.

The chief benefit of spiritwrack is that it ignores the magic resistance of the target. It does, however, provide a saving throw, which negates the spell. The defending creature’s HD are halved by the effect of the spell, as always discarding fractions.

Once the spell is in place, the caster may force the creature back to its plane of existence, or in the case of undead the caster may choose to exile the creature from its current place of residence (but will not end its existence on Earth). Undead will thereafter permanently fear the caster and will not seek revenge for the action.

Contrary to these measures, the caster may choose to bind and flay the creature for the duration of the spell. During the first ten rounds ~ if the caster so chooses ~ the creature will be subjected to suffering and pain. Thereafter, for the time remaining, the creature will be helpless to give anything but truthful answers. It will use its words at a premium, but every 20 words spoken by the caster and the demon will count as an expenditure of 1 round (contrariwise, the whole discussion may be timed on a stopwatch). At the end of this time, or at any convenient moment, the caster may exile the spirit away.

The caster need not know the name of the creature being affected.

See Also,
Mage 6th Level Spells

Mage 6th Level Spells

Table yet to be created.

Spiritwrack

Monday, May 27, 2019

Balrog (demon)

These immense demons stand between 12 and 14 feet tall, with horns, demonic features and tattered wings. The body resembles a broken lava surface over a red-hot interior, while the creature’s body produces its own blazing flames. A substantial portion of its body is made of heat-softened rock.

As weapons, it favours a long sword that functions as a flame tongue, as well as a whip of many twisted metal cords. These weapons, too, are enlarged, augmenting the amount of damage they cause.

In temperament they are surprisingly taciturn and aloof, so much that they dislike acting in concert with the purposes of other creatures. Loneliness is their greatest pleasure, and as such they prefer to occupy the deepest, most isolated chasms of the Abyss.

Mythology & Origin

Balrog do not originate from Earthly culture at all, but were corrupted from beings called the Ainur, who in turn were created by Eru Iluvatar, one of the many names of the supreme being of the universe. The Ainur occupied Silvanie, a land in Outer Earth, a great flat disc adrift in the Astral Sea. This is likewise the origin place of elves, who came to Earth from Silvanie some 50,000 years ago.

Melkor, the most powerful of the Ainur, corrupted the lesser members of his kin into the maiar, who roamed freely throughout the multi-universe. Balrog made up a substantial part of these maiar. Following the War in Heaven, however, many evil creatures were bound from trespassing into the blessed planes, confining them to the lower, or evil planes of existence. The balrog, who despised order and compulsion, found refuge in the infinite Abyss, where they remain, largely of their own choice. Because of their origin, and unlike other common demon forms, balrog have the power of demon princes in that they can depart from the Abyss when they wish. They do not have the power to enter into the divine realms (Heaven, Elysium, etcetera), but they may and do occasionally enter the contested Prime Material Plane.

Advantages

Balrog are immune to sleep and charm magic, whatever the source, as well as attacks from cold, fire, electricity or gas of any sort. They are able to teleport. They are able to be hit only by weapons with a bonus of +2 or greater. They possess a natural ultravision. They are able to produce darkness at will, encircling their selves with a 20 ft. radius of inky blackness, which can be dispelled only with dispel magic. They have a high magic resistance of 75%.

If pressed, balrog have an 70% chance of gating another demon (roll a d6): either a glabrezu (1-2) or a nalfeshnee (3-6).

Balrog are also able to perform detect magic, detect invisibility, telekinesis and suggestion, cause fear or pyrotechnics, dispel magic or use a symbol of hopelessness or pain.

All these abilities can be performed at will, requiring only 1 action point to perform. However, no more than one such power may be performed per combat round. Most may be performed from round to round, but a given power can’t be put into place if already present.

Balrog cannot fly, but in combat they will beat their wings rapidly, causing 2-5 damage to all within three hexes (no saving throw). This buffeting will also sweeping their enemies in partial flames. This will singe hair and require that fragile items like paper, loose clothing (capes and cloaks), or thin wood (arrows, bows, javelins) must make a saving throw against magical fire.

The long sword causes 4-24 damage and is +3 to hit and damage. Any creature struck by the weapon must make saving throw for worn or carried clothing, leather and wood (such as shields); clothing that fails will be singed and ruined; leather and wood will break or cease to be of effect. The sword can strike within two hexes of the balrog.

The whip, or cat-of-nine, causes 5-15 damage (2d6+3). When struck, the target must make save against petrification or be stunned, regardless of the damage sustained. The demon will then pull the target to the nearest edge of its own hex, causing an additional 2-12 damage to the target from the flames of the demon’s body. The whip can strike within four hexes of the balrog.

Balrog may not possess creatures that are aware of what they are facing; however, an unconscious creature may be possessed and used as an outer shell to protect the demoness.

Dweomercraft

Summoned balrog will be extraordinarily angry upon appearance, that their solitude has been disturbed. However, if promises are made within three sentences that the summoner is ready to offer a peculiar place of refuge upon the Prime Material or Astral planes, such as a dungeon lair or a deserted castle, the balrog will listen to a proposal. As such, balrog make excellent guardians for such places, so long as they are remote, godforsaken and absent of neighbours. Given the opportunity, a balrog might comfortably remain in such a place for centuries.

If the desire of the summoner would be to protect a precious item from outsiders, the balrog should be informed. The balrog will act as guardian; but may, from time to time, call the summoner to deal with troublesome bothers beyond the balrog’s adopted lair, such as a village of humanoids or a nest of other creatures that may spring up in the area. The balrog will be happy to slaughter any invaders into its lair, but it will not like to venture outside to deal with neighbours. In this regard, the summoner will be treated as a landlord, and may be teleported to the balrog without notice.

See Bestiary



Saturday, May 25, 2019

Marilith (demoness)

These guardian demonesses occupy the upper levels of the Abyss, acting both as guards imprisoning the denizens within and as a shield against interlopers from other planes. Should an interloper seek to enter the Abyss for some purpose would be sure to meet with one or more marilith before long.

Standing 7 ft. tall, marilith appear from the waist up as highly athletic and beautiful human women with six arms; from the waist down they have the body of a giant snake. The length of the lower body is some 15 to 18 ft. long, and is usually curled under the creature’s body to maintain the body upright.

Marilith are armed with six weapons, typically a short sword, a rapier, three varieties of scimitar and an ankus ~ but this is by no means the rule. The power and dexterity of the demoness is frightening, as it is able to deliver all six attacks against a single opponent if the creature so wishes. Moreover, marilith have an 18/51 strength, with +2 to hit and +3 to damage, so that six hits by the demoness can deliver a minimum of 24 points of damage and as many as 54.

Mythology & Origin

It is supposed inaccurately by many historiographers that marilith are generals, advisors or tacticians, all of which ignores the true chaotic nature of the Abyss, within which no true hierarchy exists. Marilith are compulsively driven to cause destructive; they are devious and crafty, and careful to plan their first attack to obtain the best possible advantage, but they do not command other demons as many false sages believe.

Their existence reaches back thousands of years but is in fact unknown, as it predates history. The first mention of marilith occurs in the Ramayana as servants of Ravana and his demoness sister Shurpanakha, who fought and lost the war against Rama, circa 2500 BCE. Thereafter the marilith were cast from free action upon the Prime Material Plane into the Abyss, where they have remained since.

Advantages

In addition to their strength, Marilith are immune to sleep and charm magic, whatever the source, as well as attacks from cold, fire, electricity or gas of any sort. They are able to teleport. They are able to be hit only by weapons with a bonus of +1 or greater. They possess a natural ultravision. They are able to produce darkness at will, encircling their selves with a 20 ft. radius of inky blackness, which can be dispelled only with dispel magic. They have a very high magic resistance of 80%.

If pressed, they have an 85% chance of gating one or more other demons to their location or 2-7 manes demons automatically. These occur randomly (roll a d20): 3-8 manes (1-2), a vrock (3-8), a hezrou (9-13), a glabrezu (14-17) or a nalfeshnee (18-20).

Marilith are also able to perform charm person, detect invisibility, levitate and pyrotechnics. They are able to create an avatar.

All these abilities can be performed at will, requiring only 1 action point to perform. However, no more than one such power may be performed per combat round. Most may be performed from round to round, but a given power can’t be put into place if already present.

Marilith may not possess creatures that are aware of what they are facing; however, an unconscious creature may be possessed and used as an outer shell to protect the demoness.

Dweomercraft

Most often, summoned marilith are nearly impossible to control, being extraordinarily possessed by the desire to indiscriminately slaughter friend and foe alike. However, they love the prospect of being released upon an earthly battlefield and may be encouraged to fight against the side that has not summoned them from the Abyss. This “contract” will last so long as the marilith’s foes give it plenty of room and do not inadvertently kill or disable a would-be victim of the demoness. It is therefore not safe to intentionally or accidentally attack any creature within three combat hexes of a marilith.

As the demoness knows that its death on the prime material will mean only that it is returned the Abyss, which it views without regret, marilith facing hundreds of foes will quickly fall into a blood rage that will continue until it the marilith is vanquished or the enemy are dead. Since it can teleport at will, even the flight of victims will not save them from the marilith’s appetite.

Those who may falsely believe it is safe to summon a marilith to kill only a few score enemy will sorely regret their decision. Unless there are at least a half a thousand enemy immediately visible to the demoness, it will immediately set itself to kill everyone in its presence, beginning with the summoner if possible.

See Bestiary

Nalfeshnee (demon)

These enormous demons are enormous beast-like creatures, with the snout, hooves and ears of a swine, the black glossy hair and body of an ape. In temperament these creatures are rapacious, cruel and arbitrary, receiving enormous pleasure from catching souls on the cliffs of the Abyss and rending them to pieces and devouring them, knowing the souls will incorporate themselves into manes ~ beginning the hunt once again, uncounted times.

The origin of these creatures is believed to have begun with demonic possession of creatures on the Prime Material Plane. For two thousand years, shamans and clerics carried forth a practice of casting demons out into animals, particularly swine, who were then ritually killed by driving them into pits or otherwise sacrificed. This returned many thousands of demons into the depths, whose bodies were contorted and reshaped into polluted manifestations of the original form.

As a result, there are many nalfeshnee with profound shapes and characteristics, including antlers, mandibles, back plates and ridges, eyes on stalks, tentacles, humped backs, spines, spikes and tails of various forms. Nalfeshnee possess larger wings with a span of at least a dozen feet, though the creatures are too heavy to fly.

Advantages

Nalfeshnee are immune to sleep and charm magic, whatever the source, as well as attacks from cold, fire, electricity or gas of any sort. They are able to teleport. They are able to be hit only by weapons with a bonus of +1 or greater. They possess a natural ultravision. If pressed, they have a 60% chance of gating another nalfeshnee to their location or 2-7 manes demons automatically. They are able to produce darkness at will, encircling their selves with a 20 ft. radius of inky blackness, which can be dispelled only with dispel magic.  The nalfeshnee is also protected by a magic resistance of 65%.

They are also able to cause fear, levitate, detect magic, dispel magic, polymorph self or use a symbol of hopelessness or pain. Once per day they may perform telekinesis or create a phantasmal figure once per day that will be indistinguishable from the original.

All these abilities can be performed at will, requiring only 1 action point to perform. However, no more than one such power may be performed per combat round. Most may be performed from round to round, but a given power can’t be put into place if already present.

Nalfeshnee may not possess creatures who are aware of what they are facing; however, an unconscious creature may be possessed and used as an outer shell to protect the demon. The act of possession requires one full round of the nalfeshnee’s movement.

Dweomercraft

Due to the exorcism ritual that exiled them to the Abyss, sometimes centuries ago, nalfeshnee make excellent and willing servants for wizards seeking revenge upon a certain culture or people. If summoned and thus enabled to act, nalfeshnee are quite willing to perform any service, so long as it requires no more than a week to complete. The freedom to do as it pleases, after the given service, will always be the condition the nalfeshnee demands in exchange.

After a week, whether the service is performed or not, the nalfeshnee’s need to seek revenge on those who exorcised it to the Abyss (or their descendants) will get the better of the demon. It will abandon its promises and teleport to where it can begin the revenge it has nurtured. Nalfeshnee prefer to possess a body, then murder its victims secretly, causing as much anguish as possible to one poor creature at a time, for as long as it can remain at large.

See Bestiary

Friday, May 24, 2019

Lightning Bolt (spell)

Range: 40 ft. + 10 ft. per level
Duration: instantaneous
Area of Effect: up to three targets
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Saving Throw: ½ damage
Level: mage (3rd)

Evokes a powerful stroke of magical electricity that leaps out from the caster’s hands (both are required) as a bright flash. A crash of noise accompanies the bolt, but as it is about 110 decibels there is no affect on hearing. The lightning can be split so as to affect up to three targets; moreover, this targeting is accurate, so long as the caster has line of sight. Additionally, the course of the lightning outward allows pinpoint accuracy, so that friendly targets will be unaffected by the bolts created.

As the lightning is magical and not natural, it cannot be passed through a conductor, nor does the presence of water nor connection with the ground alter the spell’s effect in any way. Likewise, magical lightning will not rebound from mirrors or any other surfaces, contrary to popular belief.

Against living creatures, the spell causes 1d6 damage per level of the spellcaster, so that a 7th level lightning bolt will cause 7-42 damage. The damage is rolled individually for each target. Any struck individual is entitled to a saving throw against magic which, if successful, will half the amount of damage taken.

Whether a save against damage is made or not, from 5-20 random objects that are carried or worn by the target must make saving throws for items against lightning. Solid objects enclosed inside a container need not make a save, unless the container itself fails save. Liquids, such as potions, holy water and beverages, must make save regardless. A fail will spoil the magical effect; other liquids will merely acquire an unpleasant metallic taste but will be otherwise unharmed. Beverages should be counted as durables with regards to nutrition.

See Also,
Mage
Mage 3rd Level Spells

Haste (spell)

Range: 60 ft.
Duration: 1 round per level
Area of Effect: one creature per three levels
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Saving Throw: none
Level: mage (3rd)

Advances the speed of movement for the recipient so that all actions require half the time they would normally require, while also doubling the recipient’s number of attacks. The recipient’s total action points per round are effectively doubled. Contrary to popular belief, the spell has no actual effect on time.

The spell has no effect upon a recipient’s armour class or ability to hit, though the probability of hitting is increased by the addition of more attacks. If the recipient normally has multiple attacks, these are doubled also: 5 attacks in 4 rounds would become 10 attacks in 4 rounds; 4 attacks in 3 rounds would become 8 attacks in 3 rounds, and so on.

Once a recipient has been affected by the spell, they need not remain inside the spell’s range.

Spellcasting is not, however, improved; while the caster may be able to perform the mental and physical actions of producing the spell more quickly, the actual coalescing of power, or the attentions of divine beings and such, cannot be adjusted.

The spell will counteract the effects of the 3rd level mage spell, slow.

See Also,
Mage
Mage 3rd Level Spells

Web (spell)

Range: 1 hex per level
Duration: 20 rounds per level
Area of Effect: see below
Casting Time: 1 round
Saving Throw: none
Level: mage (2nd)

Creates strong sticky strands that form a web curtain that is, at full extent, 40 ft. long, 15 ft. wide and 5 ft. deep. This may be attached to a vertical point or hung between vertical points, or doubled back on itself to create a thicker curtain. If sufficient surrounding structure exists, such as walls and a ceiling, the web will fill a space of 3,000 cubic feet. It is not strong enough to be climbed upon.

The web may be cast so that it passes through a combat hex with allies or opponents, so that creatures will be caught in the web. All caught persons will find themselves trapped, requiring effort to extricate themselves. Movement out of a webbed hex will cost 3 action points (AP) per hex. Attacking out of a webbed hex costs a penalty of -4 to hit.

A heated blade does not improve speed of movement, but the hex to which it is applied will be cleared of webs. Likewise, a torch and similar open flame will not set the entirety of the webs alight, but if it is applied while moving, again, the webs in that hex will be cleared.

See also,
Mage
Mage 2nd Level Spells


Thursday, May 23, 2019

Counter-tracking (sage ability)

An advanced skill similar to evasion, providing the character with techniques that will mislead or delay those with tracking ability, particularly confounding tracking monsters and animals such as dogs or familiars. These measures have the potential for shaking off pursuit by enabling the tracked character to outdistance a tracker; or, in certain conditions, to obscure the trail so that it cannot be followed at all.

The ability will grant some benefit to others associated with the counter-tracking character, in that false tracks can be created so that up to four others besides the skilled character can be potentially shepherded away from trackers. The ability does not allow the number of those in flight to be hidden, but by directing others to take specific actions and movements, the counter-tracker can have the tracker moving in circles that will waste time.

This technique includes laying false trails and backtracking around objects, having a group “jump off” a trail at different points, creating deception tracks, shepherding groups to enter stream banks and exit in ways that will leave confusing evidence of movement, various use of water to break tracks, creating boxes and figure eights with movement both on land and in water, leading trackers to probable spot-points for the best effects from snares and traps, varying direction of march and using vegetation to foul leashed animals and their handlers, forcing them to untangle themselves before continuing pursuit.

Speed of Flight

Laying false tracks requires time and careful effort ~ others with a minimum 13 intelligence and 14 wisdom can give aid. Note that enemy trackers can anticipate counter efforts if a team’s movements are sloppy, allowing them to leapfrog the apparent tracks and close distance with the pursued.

Counter-tracking reduces forward movement for the pursued by 25% and for the pursuers by 30-35% (d6+29). A leashed dog adds +4% movement speed to the pursuers. An unleashed dog will move faster, gaining a +5/6% benefit, depending on the training of the dog. Shepherded characters with less than 13 intelligence should make an intelligence check each hour. Each failure will “speed up” the pursuer by 3%.

The DM should determine the actual distance separating the pursued from their pursuers, then keep track of this distance accordingly.

Pursued characters should decide each hour if they intend to move their best normal movement or if they wish to counter-track. Normal movement, during which the pursued will move at 100% speed in that environment, will leave blatant tracks that can be followed. The delay of the enemy tracker to begin moving at full speed as well may count as distance gained, but that distance will be lost again if the character acts again to counter-track.

Any of the following will add 1-2% to the speed of pursuers who are employing an animal to track:
A pleasant or warm day.
A wind speed of calm or light air.
Flat open ground under a canopy of trees, slowing evaporation and wind dispersal of scent.
Any member of the pursued has less than a 11 constitution, meaning they’ve gained a heavy body odour from sweating while in flight.
Frozen or thawing ground, which retains scent better and longer.
Two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset.
Items dropped or left on the trail, including pepper and like products, which in fact will not affect a animal trained to track. These items confirm the pursuer’s belief of being on the right track.

Any of the following will allow the tracks of a counter-tracker to eliminate further pursuit:
Rainfall equal to 30 mm over a three-hour period.
Any rainfall followed by a warm or hotter temperature.
A wind force of 6 or greater.
Populated, crowded areas where foot traffic will obscure sign and scent.
Fast running water.
Moving at night.

Sightings

Note that trackers and pursued may, if coming close enough, gain a visual sight of each other, not only across open ground but perhaps for brief moments as elevation allows line of sight into a valley, up at higher ground or potentially across a large body of water. A wisdom check is needed to determine if either group catches sight of the other; the lowest roll against wisdom determines who sees first. If the d20 rolls are equal, both pursued and pursuer see each other at approximately the same time.

See Scouting

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Evasion (sage ability)

Provides the character with skill at consciously avoiding detection by others who may be actively hunting the character, or in a position to witness traces left by the character.  The measures taken will not fool another who has tracking ability, nor monsters with tracking abilities, but it will be sufficient to conceal the character’s movements with other beings, particularly humanoids.

The ability grants no benefits to others associated with the character, who will unavoidably make obvious tracks on trails, stamp vegetation, mark soft wet places as they walk, etcetera, even if counselled to do otherwise.  For the possessor of the skill, however, evasion will include actively choosing routes that won’t reveal footprints, bending back grass and vegetation, selecting hard surface entry and exits onto trails, roads and river banks, the wisdom not to sit down upon halts, to listen automatically for movement of others who may be moving in the area, a heightened awareness of wet environments, knowledge not to cross open spaces, how to maintain one’s equipment to leave the least scent, the presence of scent with regards to air movement and wind direction, etc.  All of these things provide a negligible chance that the character, acting alone in the wilderness, will leave any track that will be noticed or remotely followed by a creature other than than those gifted in tracking.

The skill does not offer any special benefits to not being seen or improvement in the character’s stealth ability.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Nutrition & Preparation of Food

In addition to the amount of food that characters must consume, another consideration is the nutritional value of that food. Characters cannot simply live on bread and water, but should eat the best of possible foods. This isn’t always easy when adventuring, particularly when we consider how this food is to be prepared and cooked.

Each ½-day period follows the meal prior, either the breakfast/early day meal and the evening/late day meal. Bonuses and penalties therefore apply to either the day or the night, following the early or late meals.

Food Quality

Foods are rated in “quality” according to their durability and nature of ingredients. There are five standards of quality: durables, staples, fresh, selective and premium:

Durables include preserved meats such as jerky, dry sausage, salt-pork, sauerkraut and dried fish; potable plant products such as polished rice and dried pulses; and durable forage such as dried mushrooms, grains, wild nuts, seeds and dried fruits. Food that is foraged falls into this category. These are products that have a shelf-life of months, even years.

Staples include foodstuffs such as flour, salt, honey, cheese, butter and biscuits; root vegetables and tubers; and beverages such as beer, mead, wine or distilled drink. The weight of these latter beverages will raise the quality of the meal, but do not count towards the weight of food that must be consumed daily. These are products that typically have a shelf-life of 2-8 months.

Fresh foods include leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh meats, milk and cream ~ products with a shelf-life of 2-12 days. Longer shelf-life products include common herbs such as basil, chamomile, cumin, dill, rosemary, parsley and sage are included, as are dried tea leaves and roasted coffee beans.

Selective foods include fresh foods that have been collected in the last 24 hours, including butchered meats ~ all of which are of the highest standard, lacking bruised fruits, discoloured vegetables or meats that have been improperly butchered. Selective quality reduces to fresh after a day (unless somehow preserved).

Premium foods include items that are of the most distinct imaginable: caviar, foie gras, bird’s nest soup, eels, turtle, cabrito, suckling pig, unusual distilled spirits or wine, kumiss, cicitt and so on. These are of variable shelf life, and are often transported great distance (magically or otherwise).

Preparation

There are six “standards” of preparation, requiring utensils and space that varies from nothing but the cook’s hands to a fully equipped kitchen. How foods are readied, cooked or blended can adjust the experience of eating, which subsequently affects the diners’ health and mood.

Cold camp fare describes eating in the outdoors, effectively cooking in one’s lap. This allows cleaning with water, peeling, the use of a knife or a scraping rock, mashing, pounding and mincing, but the food cannot be safely blanched or boiled, nor can it be browned and sweetened. Durables and staples are designed for cold camp rations. Fresh vegetables, fruits, beverages and spices can be used, but fresh meat would need to be eaten raw. Selective food is slightly better. Most premium foods are somewhat processed and can be eaten in a cold camp (caviar, for example), but without other viands it can be a dreadful waste.

Campfire fare describes the benefits of an open fire, the use of the open flame, boiling water, various means of wrapping foods to be cooked in coals and as much variety as a fire will allow. Most preparation is done on a rock or upon a board on the ground, cleaned with boiled water.

Galley fare describes the food that might be prepared around a rolling cookwagon or vardo, a kitchen or aboard ship. If there is a fire, it is built on a raised, open stone box, with a flue or opening above, or a campfire is employed. Ship’s galleys included a brick cook oven. Fresh and selective foods are rare aboard ship, due to the distance from land; but they were often procured for a few days.

Scullery fare describes food from a typical home kitchen, with small fireplace and chimney, counters, a large washbasin, bins for flour, grains and seeds, bottles, cold storage, a variety of utensils and space for large cooking pots. Typically a cook’s knife and a few cook’s tools would be all that a small house could afford. Many larger mansions include a scullery for secondary work, in addition to a guestkitchen.

Guestkitchen fare describes food that is cooked in a spacious and clean environment with excellent tools and good ventilation. A guestkitchen is designed to cook multiple meals at once for scores of people at one time. Typically the room has been seasoned by years of operation. A wide assortment of knives and other tools is available. Guestkitchens often have one or more sculleries attached, which may be used for baking or for washing up dishes.

Lord’s kitchen fare describes food that is typically prepared as a feast for hundreds of people at a time, from a massive stone building with a score of preparers working together and giving much attention to specific dishes. The knives are kept sharpened, the plates used for the elite diners are of high quality and even the barracks that are served from the kitchen gain the benefit of food grown on the property and stored in large amounts inside the kitchen. Resources to maintain the kitchen are plentiful. Enormous pots and continuous fires allow for long-term preparation that may stretch out over days.

Taste


Together, the food quality and preparation combine to produce an eating experience, as shown.

In order, grub describes food that is hardly palatable but is choked down because it keeps us alive; chow is hardly better, but the diner can remain indifferent to the taste, enough that eating isn’t a chore; nosh is agreeable, encouraging the diner to scrape the remains from the plate; savory has a sharper taste gives a feeling of being content and wholesomely satisfied; tasty is distinctly pleasurable and almost always calls for seconds; flavorful causes the diner to cease conversation and actively enjoy the taste of the food; delicious calls for the diner to share aloud the eating experience, declaring its noteworthiness; piquant is distinct and memorable, the sort of meal that one would certainly recall weeks later; mouth-watering cries for the food to be gobbled, even protected from others, as the diner cannot get enough; and ambrosia is simply ecstasy, eaten with eyes closed and at one with one’s pleasure.

Effects

Depending on the taste of the food (coupled with its substantive healthiness), the effect upon the diner is organized on the included table below. Each result describes the health (mental and physical) of the character during the ½-day following either the breakfast or the evening meal.


Some of these effects will be severe if the character is already on half-rations or is somehow afflicted. The DM should treat such circumstances as increasing the effects of either half-rations or the disease accordingly.

Affliction: the character acquires an gastro-intestinal affliction, as described under disease.

Diarrhea: late in the ½-day period, the character will be struck with a round of violent bowel movements that will dehydrate the victim and force bed rest. They will receive a -3 penalty to strength and will have no appetite to eat the next meal, so that the penalty will last throughout the next ½-day.

Elated: the character is in such a fine frame of mind that they will display generosity (giving away gold coins to commoners and others, granting freedom to slaves, releasing persons from commitments) and uncommon bravery (a willingness to enter a joust or other combat, perform an act of risk for the pleasure of it). Treat them as if they are a full age younger with regards to their ability stats for the ½-day following the meal.

Grumpy: receive a -1 penalty to charisma and therefore to charisma checks as well. Lower the morale of hirelings when within two hexes of the character.

Happy: the character is in unusually good spirits, gaining a +1 saving throw generally, and a +2 save against charm and other mentally affecting attacks.

Misery: receive a -1 penalty to strength and dexterity, and therefore to checks as well. The character will be bad-tempered and moody; during the day, the character will demand a halt after half-a-day’s travel or labour, sullenly refusing to continue.

Sated: the character will rest especially well at night, gaining +1 hit point in healing without the need of a full day’s rest.

Tired: receive a -1 penalty to both intelligence and wisdom, and therefore to checks as well. The character will complain a great deal and be unable to push themselves to forced movement. Reduce daily movement by 10%.

Vomit: halfway through the ½-day period, the character will throw up a good portion of their dinner. They will receive a -1 penalty to constitution and will have little appetite until the next meal. Treat as being on half-rations (see food) until then.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Man-at-Arms (NPC)

These non-levelled characters are the common soldiers of the world, having undergone training to strengthen their bodies. They have come from all parts of life, and if generated randomly will have skills commensurate with their progenitor. The largest proportion of these will have been former comrades, but a small percentage will have been trained as men-at-arms from a young age.

Typically having a body mass of at least 3 hit points, men-at-arms also gain a bonus of +1d4 h.p. to the total. This gives a typical man-at-arms 4-12 (male) or 4-10 (female) hit points. Men-at-arms will only die if damage reduces them below -5 hit points.

They make effective troops in large numbers, with some able to use horses due to their backgrounds. Most have lost their familiarity with the club or staff they used as a comrade, and possess instead two weapon proficiencies, with effectively any weapon. Their non-proficiency penalty is -4 to hit.

They do not need to make a morale check before entering combat and they have a THAC0 of 20. They are able to fight in any form of armor. For men-at-arms that are aged younger than 25, roll 3d6 for their stats. Those who have been men-at-arms past that age can have their rolls augmented by substituting one or two rolls with 4d6, disregarding the lowest die. In calculating the shared experience bonus, men-at-arms count as ¼ share.

Men-at-arms start with 0 experience and need to accumulate 800 x.p. to be experienced enough to upgrade to a levelled fighter. This requires a year’s training from an instructor. Many men-at-arms with sufficient experience never do receive this training, because of the time, the cost, the wisdom or the lack of a tutor.

See Also,
Adventure, The
Combat