Tuesday, August 28, 2012

[Demonomicon] Astaroth, Diabolus Part 3 Minions of Astaroth

Astaroth's realm is known as the Terminal Archives. It was formed from the lore of a thousand Prime world and is said to even contain lore that pre-dates even the Chaos Queen. This is the only place in which there is a neutral truce. Both demon and devil are welcome in the library. All are welcome as long as they make the payment of adding new knowledge to the collection.

The minions of Astaroth are varied. The only common denominator is their thirst of knowledge. However, Astaroth favors the Librarian Demon. Their ability to utilise knowledge to their own advantage best exemplifies the demon lord's portfolio. The Terminal Archives are maintained by a cadre of these demons.

 Librarian Demon CR 9

CE Medium outsider (demon,evil,extraplanar)
Init +0; Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Perception +19
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18 (+2 Dex, +8 natural armor bonus)
Hp 68 (8d10+24)
Fort +10 Ref +4 Will +10
DR 10/cold ironor good; Immune electricity, poison; Resistance acid 10,fire 10; SR 19
Speed 30 ft, fly 50 ft (perfect)
Melee +1 longsword +11/+6 melee (1d8/19–20)

Spell-Like abilities (CL 8th; concentration +10)

Constant – tongues
At will – augury, identify, greater teleport (self only), guidance, light, mending, open/close, read magic
1/day – silent image,

Spells Prepared
4thcure critical wounds (2), freedom of movement, inflict critical wounds
3rdbestow curse (DC19), blindness/deafness(DC19), cure serious wounds , dispel magic, protection from energy
2ndCure moderate wounds, enthrall, hold person, silence, spiritual weapon
1stcommand, cure light wounds, divine favor, shield of faith, protection from good

Str 14, Dex 14,Con 16, Int 22,Wis 18, Cha 15.
Base Atk +8; CMB +10; CMD; 22
Feats Alertness, Deceitful, Persuasive, Scribe Scroll,
Skills Bluff +15, Diplomacy +15, Fly +9, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (arcana) +17,
Knowledge (history) +17, Knowledge (planes) +17, Knowledge (Religion) +17, Linguistic +17,
Perception +19, Sense Motive +17, Spellcraft +14
Langauages Abyssal, Celestial, Common; Telepathy

A hooded figure floats 6 inches above the ground. Holding a book, it illuminates the pages with an eerie glow emnating from its hoods.

The favored minion of Astaroth, the Librarian Demon often acts as a scribe for other demon lords. Constantly seeking knowledge to add into Astaroth's collection, these demons roam the Material Plane to make bargains with reckless mortals to give up precious secrets. When threatened, they would try to talk their way out. However when cornered, they would unleash a barrage of spells and aim at weak spots of the creatures.

Dark Knowledge : The librarian demon could use the Dark Knowledge class feature of the archivist. Use the Librarian Demon HD as the archivist level to determine the number of times used and what benefits could be conferred to its allies.

If the Librarian Demon gains level in Archivist, this stacks with the Archivist level.

Librarian Demons can cast divine spells as 14th level Archivist. The save DCs are Wisdom-based.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

[Demonomicon] Astaroth, Diabolus Part 2

Aspect of Astaroth

Part 1 is here

Sometimes Astaroth would send his aspect to the mortal world to expand his influence. The aspect could be summoned as a sign of favor to his foul minions. They serve as the herald of Astaroth and share terrible secrets with his followers. Sometimes, they would appear in front of desperate individuals and tell them of a solution. Usually these solutions would come with a heavy price. But the truly desperate would still do it even if they know of the consequences.

The aspect of Astaroth is a 7 foot tall angelic being. It is only upon a closer look that the viewer could see the demonic and serpentine feature in the aspect.

Though capable of tearing his foes apart, the aspect is content to let his minions rush forward to the enemy. He would support his allies with uses of the Dark Speech.

If forced into melee, the aspect would quicken his unholy blight spell-like ability and follow it by tripping his foes. He would continue to trip his foes and let his minions take down the prone victims.

Medium Outsider (Demon, Extraplanar, Chaotic, Evil)
Initiative: +1; Senses: darkvision 60 ft. ; Perception 17
Aura: Aura of Menace (DC 17), magic circle against good
Armor Class: 24 (+1 Dex, +14 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 23
Hit Dice: 10d10+72 (105 hp)
Saves: Fort +9 , Ref +8, Will +9
DR 10/good; Immune electricity and poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10, fire 10; SR 18
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 80 ft. (good)
Melee:+1 unholy flail +17/+12 melee (1d8+10/x2 plus 2d6 unholy)
Space 5ft ; Reach 5 ft.
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 10th; concentration +17)
Constant: magic circle against good
At will--augury, divination,  greater teleport (self plus 50 lbs. of objects only), message
1/day- Divination, greater dispel magic, Unholy Blight
Abilities: Str 22, Dex 13, Con 22, Int 22, Wis 14, Cha 20
Base Attack: +10/+16; CMD: +16; CMD: 27
Feats: Combat Experise, Dark Speech, Improved Trip, Quicken Spell-like ability
Skills: Bluff +18, Diplomacy +18, Gather Information +15, Intimidate +15, Knowledge (arcana) +19, Knowledge (geography) +16, Knowledge (Local) +16, Knowledge (nature) +16, Knowledge (the planes) +19, Perception +15, Sense Motive +15, Spellcraft +19
Environment: Abyss (Terminal Archive)
Organization: Solitary
Challenge Rating: 9
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Always Chaotice Evil
Advancement: 11-25 HD (Medium); 26-30 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment: +6

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Combining Knowledge Skills for d20 modern and Pathfinder

Since there is a lot of overlap between the skills for d20 modern and d20 3.5/Pathfinder, here is the combined knowledge skill.

d20 Skill
Pathfinder Modern Skill
Knowledge (Arcane Lore)
Knowledge (Arcane Lore)
Knowledge (Arcana)
Knowledge (Arcane Lore)
Knowledge (Art)
Knowledge (History and Culture)
Knowledge (Behavorial Science)
Knowledge (Behavorial Science)
Knowledge (Business)
Knowledge (Business)
Knowledge (Civics)
Knowledge (Civics)
Knowledge (Current events)
Knowledge (Current events)
Knowledge (Dungeoneering)
( with exception of identifcation of abberation)
Knowledge (Geography)
Knowledge (Dungeoneering)  (Identification of Abberation)
Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)
Knowledge (Earth and Life Science)
Knowledge (Nature)
Knowledge (Engineering)
Knowledge (Physical Science)
Knowledge (Geography)
Knowledge (Geography)
Knowledge (History)
Knowledge (History and Culture)
Knowledge (Local)
Knowledge (Streetwise)
Knowledge (Nature)
Knowledge (Nature)
Knowledge (Nobility)
Knowledge (History and Culture)
Knowledge (Physical Science)
Knowledge (Physical Science)
Knowledge (Planes)
Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)
Knowledge (Popular Culture)
Knowledge (History and Culture)
Knowledge (Religion)
(With exception of identifcation of undead)
Knowledge (History and Culture)
Knowledge (Religion)  (Identification of Undead)
Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)
Knowledge (Streetwise)
Knowledge (Streetwise)
Knowledge (Tactics)
Knowledge (Tactics)
Knowledge (Technology)
Knowledge (Technology)
Knowledge (Theology and Philosophy)
Knowledge (History and Culture)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

[Gaming Thoughts] Why DM cheats

I was reading this article and this was a short post cheating. In particular, the author wrote that cheating should be encouraged.

From my years of experience, I would have to admit that I have cheated. Many a times, it was because the encounter was too easy or too difficult for the players. Sometimes, it was to push the game along. But why do we do it? The fudging of dice is often instinctive and even newbie DMs would do it by reflex.

But when would the DM abuse this rule ?

For me, DM chating is all about dealing with quitter's rage. I admit that I picked the term from the brilliant Leverage series. But I think the concept was similar.

Imagine playing tic tac toe for 4 hours straight. No fun , right? Because the game is so simple, players loses interest out of boredom

Likewise if the game is overly hard, the player would quit because they just cannot win. Case in point, one of my DM played a bleak game. This was one of the games that whatever the players do, there seems to be a dire consequences. A step forward would result in two backwards. Now, Walking Dead is the same bleak concept and most like to watch such a show. But to play it was really horrible.

So to make the game interesting,  I cheat. If the encounter of a boss was a pushover, I gave the boss higher resistance. If it proved too devastating, I toned it down. By trying to keep the balance between challenging and impossible, the DM should keep the players engaged and interested,

But that are pitfalls. DMs may overly fudge their rolls because the game is too important to them. But the issue of DM versus player is too complex to describe in a blog post. So i think i would do a blog post on ot later.

Maybe a drama point system should do the trick. If the player is having a too easy time, the DM could offer them a drama point. This forces the player to reroll. If the player refuses, the player must offer a drama point to negate it. This gives the player an edge if they are having a bad time. And the DM would think twice before fudging their dice.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

[Demonomicon] Astaroth, Diabolus Part I

I always have a great interest in the abyssal lords. For this series, I hope to cover obscure abyssal lords. For the first one, i think i would start with Astaroth.

Layer: Terminal Archives
Areas of Concern: Science, Prophecy, Knowledge
Domains: Chaos, Evil, Knowledge,  Prophecy
Favored Weapon: Flail
All Rights reserved to Matt Bradbury
Astaroth was a celestial scribe within the House of Knowledge, serving an unknown god of knowledge. Well versed in a broad range of topics and a gift for prophecy, Astaroth was enamored by the concept of evil fighting evil. Thus begin his downfall.

Researching into the truenames of the fiendish creatures that existed in the Abyss, Astaroth wrote the Vital Pact. Sharing the disreputable philosophy that summoners should use the terrible fiends as allies to fight against enemies, Astaroth inked each unique copy with the true name of a fiend and discussed at length on the summoning techniques of fiends.

But all forbidden knowledge comes with a price. For each book the dedicated archon wrote, he was tainted by his research to fight against evil. Soon, the archon was unrecognizable and was cast out from the Upper Planes.

Still, Astaroth continued his research. The layer in which he rules have become a library of lost and forbidden knowledge. However, Astaroth has become thoroughly twisted in his unnatural thirst of knowledge. Once desiring to use these knowledge for good, Astaroth now strives to use knowledge and prophecy as a way to spread chaos and misery.

Astaroth appears as a handsome man with feathered and serpentine features. To those who wishes for his favor, they would write down their experience and the lore they have learnt for the day. They would then burn a copy of these experiences and dedicate it to Astaroth. It is said that each pages would be archived in the Terminal Archives.

For those whom Astaroth have taken notice, they would earn the following boon:

1: Identify 3/day or Augury 2/day or Clairaudience/Clairvoyance 1/day
2: Quickened Unholy Blight 1/day
3: Scrying 1/day

Followers of Astaroth have their patron's thirst for knowledge. They delight in offering sadistic solution to people in need. Nothing warms their heart more than seeing a hapless father commit murder in order to save their child's life.

Monday, August 6, 2012

[Nightwatch Campaign] Modifying the Pathfinder Gunslinger

In d20 modern, the guns have no chnace of misfire. After all, the d20 system does not make you check if your sword breaks from hitting too much or if your bowstring would break. Hence , if you want to adapt the Pathfinder Gunslinger to d20 modern, you would need to modify the Gunslinger Deeds by quite a bit. Here are some of the suggestions I found that has helped me.

But fortunately, it seems that mysterious stranger's replacement deeds seems like a good replacement. As for Gunsmithing, replace it with Gun Training at level 1. Simply replace the weapons with the appropriate gun models and you are good to go.

Would post an example later to see if it is feasible :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

The definitions of heroism in games

I watched "Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics" . There was a quote that struck me as interesting.

" Superheroes are these archetypes that live within us.And then somebody figures out a way
to present them to us......in a way that is compatible with the realities that we live in."

So if superheroes is an archetype living within all of us. Is role-playing game a medium in which we could play out these archetype of ours? Like superheroes, the character we create navigate the own world they live in and overcome each and every obstacles that the GM has installed for them. And each time we overcome it, we cheer because it give us hope.

So if we are playing heroes, what is the definition of heroics? Like the different ages of comics, the definition is never the same. The stick-in-the-mud archetype of the Paladin is a good example. The Paladin's strict moral code is the very definition of the perfect Gentlemen. But come modern age, the inflexible nature would make such a creature ridiculous. Instead, people gravitate to roguish characters whose underhanded acts are for the greater good.

But what is the greater good? What is the borderline between good and evil? How would Green Latern react if he is one again paired with Green Arrow? When do the player characters become no different than the thugs they are fighting?

Many game mechanics have tried to define this. D20 is infamous for many newbie characters choosing Chaotic Neutral because they could do anything and get away with it. Star Wars has a long list of dos and don'ts . But sometimes, I feel ridiculous to give Dark Side points to my player for the things they have done.

Unfortunately, I do not have the answers. How far is too far really depends on the GM. But if the problem arises, the solution may be to embrace it. Like comics, the characters would be treated with fear , not love. Enemies could be more subtle. The GM could even have plot hooks in which the villains set up the player characters to seem to be the evil one.

So next time when you game either as the DM or the player, think about how far your hero is willing to get into the dark side.