Saturday, November 27, 2010

[D&D] Zapper wand Harry Potter style

I saw this trailer at Youtube. Haven't played the game and I don't even know what it is like, but man, it looks so ridiculous. It's like FPS but with zapping wands! But I got an idea to make Zapper Wand for Dungeons & Dragons (3rd ed) based on this trailer of Harry Potter game. So here it is...

Zapper Wand

Zapper wands are weapons in high-magical lands of fantasy. They are weapons that were used in great wizard wars. Even now wizards who are warriors do use these commonly.
Zapper wands come in huge range of sizes. Rule of thumb is, that the bigger Zapper wand is the greater damage it deals. Varieties are the following:

Damage 1D4, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D6, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D8, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D10, Crit 20 x2
Damage 1D12, Crit 20x2

There are also high quality Zapper wands, what are the same as above but with:
Crit 20 x3
Crit 19-20 x3

Zapper wand has basically unlimited ammo. It only stops zappin' if you roll "1" with your ranged attack roll. That's it, and Zapper wand needs to reload and it works again next day (after midnight or what ever).

Ranges vary. Smaller Zapper wands don't shoot as long as bigger.

Final Words

Yes, I know this post is a bit stub. I didn't detail Zapper Wands' range, costs, rarity etc. but you can easily come up with something. But hey, how ridiculous does that trailer look? Seriously?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random flailure table - When flail fails

Cleric and his party encountered band of orcs what are known to roam the countryside killing and robbing travellers, stealing village's livestock and causing trouble for commoners. The battle begins and initiative roll favours the band of heroes. Cleric with highest initiative declares, that he'll bash some orc skulls as they aren't that hard opponents. Cleric pics up his D20, rolls it... Result is "1"...

Random Flailure table is for all players whose character uses flail. If you botch critically, ask your player to roll 20-sided die and tell his flail fail result!

D20 Roll - Result of flailure
  1. Flail is dropped on character's feet. 1 round (or action) to pick it up.
  2. Same as above.
  3. Flail flyes away 2D6 feet 1D8 direction (1 north, 2 north-east, 3 east etc.).
  4. Same as above, 25% change to hit target at that direction.
  5. Hitting nearest person with low power (½ damage, (PC or NPC).
  6. Hitting nearest person with normal power (½ damage, PC or NPC).
  7. Hitting nearest person with critical damage (PC or NPC).
  8. Hitting yourself with low power (½ damage).
  9. Same as above.
  10. Hitting yourself with normal power (normal damage).
  11. Critical hit on self (critical damage).
  12. Flail is broken, can be repaired.
  13. Flail is broken beyond repair.
  14. Flail chain gets tangled. -5 to attack rolls (D&D). Takes 1D4 turns to clear.
  15. Flail ball detached (check 3, ½ damage). Can be used as chain weapon (or ½ damage) before repair.
  16. Flail flies away and gets lost. Search DC 20 to find it.
  17. Flail gets stuck on bearer's equipment. 1D3 turns to clear it.
  18. Flail's chain around neck. Deal like grabble attack with ½ of bearer's strength.
  19. Flail's chain around neck severely. Deal like grabble attack with bearer's normal strength.
  20. Flail's chain around neck and ball bumps on head. Same as 16 + ½ flail damage.
So, next time your player's character fails with flail, ask him to roll D20!

Wendigo - my version for RPGs

(Wendigo in Wikipedia.)


Spirit of winter and nature, stalker of the night and cold. Beast of the spirit world who consumes human(oid) flesh. No one truly knows where Wendigo origins but it is speculated that when humanity conquered forests for their own interests in Northern and snowy parts of the world Wendigo was awaken. When human abuse forest for their own needs hacking trees for goods and space to live within, Wendigo get's what is rightly for him: Human victims.

A true protector of winter wilderness Wendigo cannot be exile. It was awaken or became carnivorous spirit when human first time disturbed the peace of remote cold locations. It is angry, it is hungry.


Those few who have witnessed Wendigo with their own eyes describe it as white great werewolf standing on two feet with horrible long arms with knife sharp claws. It's size is twice of an ordinary human and it's strength and agility is hard to compare.

Even though it walks with two feet, it is far from humanoid form. It is manifested spirit. Not a human nor a wolf but something horrible.

But Wendigo doesn't only manifest as physical being, but can travel like a wind. Invicible to eye it is described as extremely cold breeze when there is no wind. Some people acclaim that they did even see a shape of Wendigo in snow of the breeze.


Wendigo usually attacks those who travel deep in the snowy and cold winterness. It doesn't try to scare intruders of the forest, but does kill them with it's claws and teeth. Sometimes but rarely it even attacks small villages and communities tormenting them as a breeze or killing every living person over one night.

For reason unknown Wendigo is not always physically aggressive, but can also torment people as in its spirit breeze form. No campfires stay burning, frostbites occur even through warm and thick furs and in the camp someone might have frozen to death before morning.


  • Can travel long distances fast in spirit form as a wind or breeze.
  • Is unharmed by normal weapons.
  • Does regenerate.
  • Can make small area extremely cold.
  • Is extremely strong and agile in physical form.

  • Is vulnerable to magical weapons or special shaman crafted weapons.
  • Is vulnerable for fire (but can blow fires off easily in wind spirit form).
  • Tied into locations of cold and snow. If there is summer, autumn or spring time, Wendigo cannot exsist in that period of the year.
Banishing Wendigo

When Wendigo's healthpoints decrease to its death, Wendigo is banished. However you cannot kill it, as it will return in next full moon. Only way to get rid of Wendigo in the area is not to destroy it as it is impossible to destroy it permanently but leave the place.
Characters who encounter Wendigo in their travel must move along.
Village tormented by Wendigo must be abandoned for good.

Wendigo In Campaigns
Wendigo is truly powerful entity and can cause several problems for the party of adventurers. Defeating it is extremely hard, so Wendigo should be encountered only by strong characters by default. If characters cannot directly defeat Wendigo, best way to survive is to stay alive and trying to get away from that area.

Possible adventure seeds:

  • Village is tormented by Wendigo and characters are asked to banish or destroy it.
  • Characters who travel through wintery wilderness could encounter Wendigo and must do their best to survive.
  • In modern horror setting (CoC, WoD etc.) there might be rumours of Wendigo. Characters might for different reasons encounter it. Maybe they are called to investigate it or are fascinated by the story. They might even be at the wrong place in the wrong time.
Statting Wendigo

It depends on game system what Wendigo's stats would be. You could use werewolf if there is stats presented in rules system but tweak it a bit. It doesn't shapehange from human to werewolf but it can shapechange from wind to physical apparation.
Basically Wendigo in wind spirit form is invulnerable. You cannot harm it by hitting it, but some really powerful magical or shamanic artifacts could keep character(s) safe.
In physical form Wendigo can be attacked, but only magical or enchanced weapons harm it. In modern setting golden bullets harm it (silver is cold, moon, winter - gold is warmth, sun, summer). But even though Wendigo can be damaged via magical or enchanted weapons it has plenty of stamina and hitpoints to make it hard to kill with even proper weaponry.
Remember, that Wendigo has high strength and dexterity (or similar values). It has also good senses (perception or similar and proper skills). It is spirit, so it should be tougher than normal physical monsters and beings.

Benefices Of Defeating Wendigo 

Naturally as Wendigo is tough opponent, it is worth plenty of experience for its defeaters. Unfortunately as Wendigo is spirit being, you cannot obtain for example Wendigo Claws or Wendigo Fur for character's benefices. When Wendigo is destroyed, it simply disappears like a breeze.

If character is skilled in talking or communicating with spirits or is even able to command them, you should allow it as rules in your system in use states. But Wendigo is always angry and agressive for human(oid)s so you cannot bargain with it. It wants to banish you for good. Kill you. Eat you. Destroy you. Keep that in mind if some character with proper qualities tries to communicate or even command Wendigo.
Only deal you possibly could do with success with Wendigo is to assure that you will leave the place as soon as possible.

Lazy on writing combat rules for YDIN project

Someone who has followed this blog might know that I am developing my own rpg system. In the following link to this blog you can find set of rules already written:

But I have been stuck on writing the rules. There is not yet rules for combat and wounding. I know how it works already, but am too lazy to write them down. Rules for combat and wounding are most detailed and long to write down. I am currently quite busy in my life, so those rules have been delayed for some time now.

I am planning to write so called basic combat to just explain how to hit, how armor works etc. to get started fighting with my system. And then write down advanced combat rules with more detail. There are some optional ideas for advanced combat, like armor piercing and piercing damage for bullets and swords (thanks for one blog poster for awesome ideas).

Rules for wounds and death would be so much faster and simplier to write down, but I think that it's useless to write them before actual combat rules.

After I have written those core rules down, I think I am free to develope specific, advanced and optional rules as I will what is the purpose of this system from the beginning. When YDIN basic rules are done I can write what ever I like to write in any order I want to.

I just need some inspiration and time to wrap YDIN basic rules together to move on the next step. I also want to make a PDF from basic rules to download, so they would be easier to access as the rules are currently only available in this blog in different posts (like chapters).

Orbs are dust particles, or are they?

Everyone knows so called ghost photographs with orbs. Orbs are those floating circles and balls what are said to be spirits. But the truth is not that fascinating or paranormal. Orbs are just dust particles or moisture reflecting camera's flash. Or the brightest ones are lens flares.

So, there is nothing paranormal in orbs. They are not proof of orbs or existence and activity of spirits. They are just normal phenomenom. And worst "proof" of ghost activity.

But in your horror campaign, what if orbs are paranormal? How to make these real life dust particles and camera flash reflections paranormal? Here is an idea how to make dust particle orbs paranormal in your game those still remaining dust:

Paranormal Dust Orbs

Orbs are dust. That is true. You get orbs into your photo from flash reflecting on them. In so called haunted cellars and atticks there is dust more obviously. But when this dust is paranormal, there are problems.
Even though there is dozens or even hundreds of dust orbs in photo it doesn't affect you. Maybe the air is just stuffy but that's all.
But if you start to get pictures of orbs at your house. First one or two every now and then. Then more often, then more. More you start to get photographs of these dust particles more hard it is for you to breath. But it only affects you. No one else in the house suffers for hard breathing. And every day there are more orbs present. And every day it is harder you to breath.
If you take photos outside, those dust particle orbs seem to follow you. You might take the picture, are hard to breath but if your friend takes a picture in same place there is no orbs more than normally there would be depending on camera and flash settings.
If you are in picture where there are more people, the orbs seem to be collected around you in the picture.

You are haunted by the eerie ghastly dust particle orbs. And they suffocate you.

Doctors cannot find anything wrong with you, but still they agree that it's hard for you to breath and you are slowly suffocating. But medical science doesn't have answers for your condition.

Campaign contains these elements to solve, before your character dies:

  • What are these haunted dust particle orbs?
  • Where do they come from?
  • What character has done so he has this suffocating haunting on him?
  • What character can do to get rid of these haunted dust particle orbs?
This would be best as a solo adventure, as it is focused on one character and his struggle to find the truth and remedy before he dies. Or one of character party could be haunted by these orbs and the party tries to solve the mystery before their fellow suffocates to death. Or characters could be hired to help someone to get rid of this haunting.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

[D&D] Against many

Main idea for these rules is to take lower level monsters, make them a challenge by adjusting their volume and make truly epic battles, where party of 6 heroes hacks and slash their way through dozens of skeletons. And it doesn't take whole month to deal with that battle.

In computer games you often fight with your character against tons of monsters running in between of them and tapping "attack button" repeatedly and in few second your kill count is many. But in rpg's usually there is not that many enemies present. Not for the reason heroes couldn't deal with them, but for the simple reason that it would take too much time to handle.

So, I have thought about this to find somekind of conclusion to make an epic battle where hero group fights against (for example) several skeletons without taking that much time in bookkeeping (I have heard that 4th edition has conclusion for this, but I haven't read it, so don't know much about it).

How To Make A Horde Of Enemies?

  • Choose monster your players' characters will fight
  • Decide how many of them are in fight
  • Multiply average hitpoints with how many monsters there are in "horde"
  • Add +1 to damage and +1 to hit for every 4th monster
So basically all the monsters in horde share the same hitpoints pool. You don't have to count each hitpoints and damage dealt individually. Characters deal damage for the horde of monsters, not every single individual.

As monsters might be weaker fort the party, calculate Hit Die like this:

  • If an individual monster's CR is high enough for party to gain experience points, give experience points normally depending on CR and how many monsters there are. For example ten CR12 monsters are worth of 15.000 exp for 15th level party.
  • If an individual monster's CR is too low for party to gain experience points from it, take highest possible level to qualify for experience, multiply it with amount of monsters and divide to 1/4. For example if an individual monsters CR is 3, normally it woulnd't give experience for lvl 12 characters, but you use highest possible level's experience points - 10th level character, 250 experience points - multiply it with amount of monsters and divide by four. So 20 CR3 monsters would be worth of 5000 experience points divided by 4 = 1250 experience points total (to share with a party ofcourse).
Area of effect spells don't use attack counters to measure which possible monsters are hit, instead just multiply it's damage by 1D4 per attack. In this system you attack horde of monster's hit points pool, so basically you roll your area of effect damage, then 1D4 and multiply the damage by that result.

Every 4th point damage taken for the horde, decrease 1 from damage and to hit as their volume is decreased. You might want to do a simple chart to cross points where your horde's power stands in, like this:

On upper chart I used skeleton's statistics.

Skeleton, Medium Sized (D&D 3. Monster Manual)
Hit Dice: 6 HP (no idea about CR, but meh, I use this as 1 because skeleton's got 1HD)
Attacks: 2 claws, +0 melee
Damage: claw 1D4

When horde is at it's full power (121 or more HP) it deals 1D4 + 6 damage and it's to hit is +6. When the horde of skeletons get's weaker, it's attack power decreases.

Horde attacks every character in a combat, unless they are in longe range (rangers with bows, casters etc.) as long as other character's keep horde busy. You might want to roll random die to see, if horde can attack long range heroes that turn. Roll 1D6 with results 1-2 long range combatants are also attacked that turn.

Final Thoughts

Many of D&D player's enjoy their combat to be mini-game of strategic action moving figures and thinking about their turns as advanced chess. But these rules could come handy if and when you want fast combat against many monsters. Ofcourse you might see, that this doesn't work as well with high CR monsters, as they are great challenge as an individuals. But with these rules, you can take those low CR skeletons out of the closet and put tens of them against your 10+ level party to deal with. And for their effort, they can have also a small amount of experience.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Making demonic random table

I decided to start work on demonic random table for evil and demonic creatures, characters and NPCs. There are few columns in my table:

  • Roll result what shows what demonic quality or characteristic is possessed
  • Description tells what the result is like
  • System tells how it works or what it does and could be modified to suit the system you are using
Roll is made with D666 (roll similarly to D100 but just use 3D6). So there is lots of options to write down. How many times will one roll D666 in first place is decided by gamemaster or rolled randomly. I give some ideas for that. For NPC's somekind of demonic level could tell how many rolls you do, and for characters random roll (1D6).

This is fun to do, but there is so many things to write down to the table to fill empty spaces. I am currenlty almost half way through, but there is still over 100 to come up with.

So, if you have any ideas for demonic powers, characteristics or qualities for monsters, characters and NPCs feel free to suggest them in comments below. Help and ideas are appreciated highly!

[PS2] Silent Hill 4: The Room - Is it Silent Hill and how to rpg it?

I just finished playing Silent Hill 4: The Room (I refer it as SH4 further). It took almost 8 hours and three evenings, so the game wasn't that long but mediocre in survival horror and adventure games. The cover is cool as artwork and layout in user's manual, but was the game good itself?

Story In Short

You are stuck in your room. There are chains in your door, and you don't have a idea what is going on. But you find a portal in your bathroom what leads you out from your room to different realms. As travelling outside from your room through the portal you investigate what is going on and find out, that if you don't do anything, the 21 sacraments will be fulfilled and world won't be the same.

Is This Silent Hill?

Game looks like Silent Hill in graphics and controls are similar, but it doesn't feel like Silent Hill. In previous SH games you explored the sleeping and damned city of Silent Hill with horrible secrets and from time to time landscapes changed in horrible twisted ways to rust and blood. There is no this mood in SH4.
You basically travel between your room and portal to places what I see as levels. You don't explore continous setting, but travel from your room to the location and back. World doesn't change, it is at it is rendered at the first place.
This level based design does take a great amount of feeling out of the game. When you finish the level by running through it to the end, there is a cut-scene and you are back in your room and next time portal takes you to a new location where you travel as long untill you fulfill all the requirements to finish the level.

Levels are quite short. There are few areas you travel back and forth finding items to get a bit further to the end of the level. There are next to none brain challenging puzzles, main idea is to collect items and use them in the right place. Even though the aren't necessarily keys, their function is like keys to the lock. Find item, place it where it belongs and get further.

Monsters From Hell

In previous Silent Hills you had radio what went crazy when monsters were near. In SH4 this feature no long exists. You can hear monsters near from noices they make, or from music, but that's it. I really, really missed the radio, as in my opinion it is a part of Silent Hill game.
What about monster design? It sucked. There weren't many different kind of monsters in the count, and the design of them was quite dull. They were boring and far from scary. More like annoying. Worst monsters in game were monkey/gorilla type things what made noises like a chimpanzee. Lame.
Worst and most annoying monsters in game were ghosts. You can beat them down, but they never die. Soon they resurrect and continue haunting you again. In whole game there is total of five items you can permanently nail ghosts to the ground so they stop haunting you.
In some levels or rooms ghosts continue to follow you through the walls for some time where ever you go. I quess that the idea of these immortal and undestructable ghosts was that they are scary as you cannot kill them, but must run away from them. I found this more annoying. It is easy to kick ghost down for a small period of time even though they eat your healthpoints when near.

Level Design

Level design was a bit boring. Mostly you run corridors. Even woods was basically corridors with just different texture. And in a level there is lots of running back and forth finding items or unlocking doors or places after you find the right item. And areas are small.
Most of the places look ordinary. A bit deserted maybe, but not that twisted. When you get to the end game the surroundings start to look more like real Silent Hill terror, but that's it. World doesn't change as you walk by. It is twisted or is not when you enter the place.

Your Room Is Your Sanctuary, Or Is It?

You travel back to your room during each level through portals scattered here and there. In your room you basically do these things:
  • Save game
  • Put items in your item chest with unlimited space when your inventory's space is limited
  • Find notes to flesh out the story
  • Regenerate HP during time spent there
But at some point your room starts to be haunted. Windows clatter, TV shows static screen and you cannot turn it off, your slippers have moved with bloody foodprints etc. When the haunting starts, you don't regenerate your HP anymore and when you go near haunted spot (ie. windows or TV) you start to loose HP. But you can collect holy candles what you can lighten up next to haunted spot to prevent the haunting for short period of time.


As I said previously, most of the puzzles are just finding the right item and using it in a right place. There are few exceptions though, what were great and good variation. For example obtaining code to open door at bar and when re-visiting the place obtaining the changed code. Besides of those, there weren't much brainstorming. Basically you just needed to search everyplace to find items to use.


In survival horror games moving a character is a bit slow. They don't attack fast or are agile. It suits well. This is not an action game, so no need to ravageous and fast swinging of a pipe. At some points character's slow movement was a bit annoying though.

So Is It Any Good Then?

For a Silent Hill series? No. Silent Hill 1, 2 and 3 were way much better in all areas. Silent Hill 4 failed in mood, level design, monsters, locations, puzzles etc. It is not a bad game, but for Silent Hill brand it could be better. I think that only title Silent Hill gives a bit more credit for the game. But there was not that much Silent Hill in this, so it could have been called just The Room.

How To Use This As RPG?

I have to say, that SH4 did not give that much inspiration in running horror/mystery rpg adventure. It was too boring, unoriginal and straightforward. I don't reveal the plot, but it could be used as stand alone idea for rpg adventure but that's almost it. Monsters were too boring to convert into any system and locations weren't original or exciting enough.
So sadly, I don't see any rpg value in SH4. You might take an idea from here and there, but in general this game is useless inspiration. If you want to use something, here are what I could rip:

  • 21 sacraments story
  • orphanage story
  • two puzzles for opening bar door involving phone
 As I wouldn't run SH4 as a rpg campaign or adventure, there is no particular system or setting I wanted to use for those three ideas. They work fine with any horror or mystery game. But for Silent Hill series in general (especially awesome 1, 2 and 3) I would most definately use Kult as it has similar system with mental balance and reality twisting.

Should You Play It?

Yes and no. Game wasn't that bad, it was more a disappointment. Luckily it was fast to play through, so you wouldn't be committed to this game too many nights what is a plus for this boring and unoriginal game. I liked to play it though, but even if there are four different endings I won't play it again. One time was enough for this experience.
If this game wasn't Silent Hill, I'd give it 3 stars. Silent Hill in title and nice package gives ½ star extra. So total of 3½ stars from me.