Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Ultimate Sandbox: The Strategic Review #4

As usual, there are a number of articles not relevant to this project. Those that I will be incorporating are detailed below.

A FEW MORE WORDS ON MEDIEVAL POLE ARMS: Not content with his lengthy treatise last issue, Gary feels the need to add a few extra paragraphs here. Mostly it involves naming obscure pole arms, and which of the more widespread pole arms they correspond to. It gets extra points for introducing the Bohemian Ear-Spoon.

CHAINMAIL WEAPONS ADDITIONS: The Jo Stick, the Bo Stick and the Quarterstaff are added to Chainmail. Perhaps one of Greyhawk's orders of Monks (maybe the Scarlet Brotherhood) are starting to get involved in military matters?

ILLUSIONISTS: A new class is introduced - the Illusionist. They are basically Magic-Users with a different spell list, and a few other changes - a 15 in Dexterity and Intelligence is required to qualify, and they are really limited in how many magic items they can use. Seriously - they can only use four wands, the crystal ball and illusionist scrolls. So it looks very underpowered on paper, but illusions in the hands of a creative player can be very effective.

The rest of the article introduces a whole host of new spells, most of which made the cut for AD&D. I'll only give descriptions for those spells that aren't self-explanatory from the name. The new spells are:

1st Level - Wall of Fog, Change Self (make self appear as a different humanoid), Gaze Reflection (reflects gaze attacks), Hypnotism (a more effective charm that requires the victim to look in caster's eyes)

2nd Level - Improved Phantasmal Forces (caster can move while using the spell), Fog, Blindness, Misdetection (might block detection spells), Hypnotic Pattern (fascinates creatures), Deafness

3rd Level - Fear, Spectral Forces (a better version of Improved Phantasmal Forces), Paralyzation, Nondetection (blocks detection spells)

4th Level - Improved Invisibility (attacking doesn't negate invisibility), Shadow Monsters (creates semi-real creatures), Shadow Magic (creates semi-real offensive spells), Minor Creation (create temporary objects), Emotions (make the target feel a number of emotions with set effects - even suicide is a possibility!)

5th Level - Summon Shadow, Major Creation (like Minor Creation, but better), Chaos (a Confusion spell with multiple targets), Demi-Shadow Monsters (like Shadow Monsters, but better), Demi-Shadow Magic (like Shadow Magic, but better), Create Spectres

The introduction of Illusionists in the campaign will begin as a new, secretive guild that opens in rivalry to the Adventurers Guild. At first there will be illusionists making forays into the dungeons in opposition to the players, but eventually I plan to soften this and make the Illusionists Guild join up and become a PC class.

TSOLYANI NAMES WITHOUT TEARS: This is a lengthy article about names in the game Empire of the Petal Throne, and how to generate ones that fit the setting of Tekumel. Whether I use this article depends on one thing - how close is EPT's game system to D&D? If it's basically a D&D variant, I'll be using Tekumel as another world the PCs can travel to. If it's a system unto itself, then I won't bother. The world of Tekumel is an interesting one, but my gut feeling on it is that it's just a bit too alien for the average player to 'get'. It's hard to get into the mindset of a person from that world. But take a group of D&D characters and throw them headfirst into Tekumel? Now that could be a lot of fun.

CLAY GOLEM: The latest new monster is a man-like automaton brought to life by a Lawful Cleric by way of various spells and a whole lot of gold pieces. Only its creator can command it, but in every turn that it is given a command it has a 1% chance to become Chaotic and go berserk. It's major ability is that it can Haste itself for 3 rounds. It's an obvious attempt to depict the Golem of Jewish myth, with a few D&Disms tacked on. Disappointingly, this version doesn't have the absurd requirements for healing damage inflicted by the golem that would creep into later editions.

I'll probably introduce this monster by way of a Manual of Golems - if a PC finds the book and wants to build one. That 1% chance of a rampage will be my little secret, though.

IOUN STONES: Taken from a Jack Vance story with the author's permission, IOUN Stones are little gems that circle around their owner and give him some sort of bonus based on its colour. There are nine colours detailed here, with bonuses including heightened ability scores, absorbing spells, hit point regeneration, better spellcasting ability, and allowing the user to go without food and water. I have an urge to introduce these items from another world, for some reason.

GALLERY OF GUNFIGHTERS Part II: This details the life and statistics of Doc Holliday. See my previous post for why a famed western gunslinger is going to be included in my D&D game.

TOMORROW: I've reached Supplement II - Blackmoor, but before that I feel that I should post another recap of what the campaign looks like at the moment.


  1. Tsolyani Names without Tears: Actually your D&D idea of tossing folks to Tsolyanu headfirst is kind of the premisse of the game. ;)

    The system is very OD&D-like except for the magic and spell-aquisition rules. It also has skills.

  2. Sweet. If it can mesh with the D&D rules without much difficulty, I'll definitely be using it. (Assuming I can find a copy, which I doubt.)