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Friday, August 31, 2012

REF: Killer Bees

More Random Encounter Fun™ for your reading amusement.

Starting off, I thought I'd do a dungeon encounter instead of wilderness. Rolling a d8 for level, I got a 1. So we're talking a low level here (possible snooze alert!)

Next up I rolled a 9 for the monster type, giving us (drumroll) Killer Bees! OK, that sounds fun!


Not quite THAT big!

Since this is a wandering/random encounter, the number appearing is 1-6. I rolled a 2. (Just TWO??)

For hit points, the buzzers got a "hardy" 3 each.

KBs are supposed to be pretty hostile, but since they aren't at their hive and the random encounter distance came up at 70', I went ahead and gave them a reaction check and got "uncertain, confused." (8 on 2d6)

So, what we have here are a couple of big ol' bumblebees buzzing around a dungeon corridor not too far from the surface. How do we make that interesting?

Wellllll, lessee...

It says that the bees live in a hive of 5-30 (5d6), I went ahead and rolled those numbers (20, including these two and the queen, who has 11 hit points). Let's assume the two bees are not terribly far from their hive. Maybe there is an entrance in the dungeon, maybe it's just above the crawl on the surface. The bees aren't initially hostile to the party, but it won't take much to set them off. If the PCs keep their distance, they might avoid a combat. The bees aren't overly tough (AC 7), but neither are low level PCs. KBs are fast and their sting is save or die (though it kills the bee, too).

What are the bees doing underground? That's the question. Perhaps there is some scent they are attracted to. Maybe something disturbed their hive. A clever party might follow them back to the hive and try to steal the honey, which has magical healing properties. Twenty killer bees are a bit much for a low level party to take on in a straight fight, but some clever use of smoke or Sleep might do the trick.

Probably not enough to base a whole adventure around, but an interesting bit of dungeon dressing. Plus, if the party doesn't follow the bees to the hive, you can also tell the players after they die further on that you "gave" them access to magical healing (the honey), but they ignored it.  ^__^

Monday, August 27, 2012

RMA: Whales

Thar be whales here!


I have often remarked on how aquatic encounters are by nature more unusual than land-based ones. Looking over the Cook Expert rules, I'm trying to remember using a whale as an encounter. This seems odd because there is actually a long history of people actively going to sea looking for these creatures.

In the rules, there are three types of whales presented: Killer (Orca), Narwhal, and Sperm whales.


From Cook:

(I'm too lazy to type that out)

Now, there are many more types of whales in the real world than this, but these three give a good selection to start with.

Your Killer Whale pod of 1d6 cetaceans is a frightening mid-level encounter, especially without a large vessel to keep clear of them in. They are a polar/cold water species, so a lovely iceberg-shipwreck-slash-tiny lifeboat scenario can = good times! A d20 damage is nothing to sneeze at either.

Narwhals are a bit more of a macguffin than a foe, IMO. That possibly magical horn worth 1000's of gps should motivate at least some characters to hunt them. They're tough (12HD), but skittish (Morale 8). Considering they are listed as "intelligent" among other whales (not to mention magical), it's safe to assume they'll not just blindly attack or flee without trying to do the smart thing. 

Sperm whales are the juggernauts in the list. 3d20 damage (or 6d6 hull damage) but also more likely to flee than fight (Morale 7). The scariest part of the sperm whale is its swallow whole ability. Instead of succeeding on a 20, it just needs +4 over the minimum to hit. That's a lot of Jonahs!



I think whalers would be an interesting addition to a maritime campaign, or at least having them around ports and as possible ship encounters. (Ambergris as treasure, anyone?)

Friday, August 24, 2012

New video (40K)

I haven't posted in a bit, sorry about that. I thought I'd share a crude attempt at a "informative" video for potential Dark Heresy players. The idea would be to make a few of these, each covering a different relevant aspect of the 40K universe for DH/40K newbies. I'm hoping to make the videos a bit more dynamic in the future, but this is what I've got so far.

I've still got it in my head to run a DH game at some point. So we shall see.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Perfect video game-based RPG setting.

Sorry it's been a while. Taking my GM hat off lately has led to less bizarre ponderings and flipping through rulebooks. But I had an amusing thought this morning that I thought I'd share.

Normally I'm against taking things like computer games and turning them into an RPG setting, but this one is nigh-perfect.


Seriously. This game is a terrific sandbox. IMO, a minecraft-based campaign would be a lot of fun! Imagine this:


  • Your character(s) find themselves in a strange land, utterly without equipment.
  • The world is nigh-uninhabited and full of different climates/terrain.
  • Monsters come hunting by night.
  • Some monsters can destroy defenses (creepers, endermen).
  • You have the skills to survive, but there is no set plan to exactly how you go about it.
    • You can wander and explore
    • You can build and fortify
    • You can look for other people
    • You can grow/raise food or hunt/gather
  • Eventually, you may find natives (NPC villages), and trade with them (or raid them for food and supplies).
  • There is great wealth, but it isn't lying around. You have to explore deep caverns and dig it out of the earth!
  • Occasionally you encounter a treasure chest, but it's often gear and food more than magic or wealth.
  • Resource management is KEY. You need food, you gear wears out, your ammo runs out, and you can only carry so much stuff.
  • You can enchant items (with the proper equipment), make potions, travel to other dimensions, sail the oceans, and gather wealth.
  • There are lost temples and strongholds, too. 
  • If you really want, you can go fight a dragon.
Granted, in a tabletop RPG you might have more than just a few of the same monsters over & over, and maybe there's a point at which you can get back to civilization with piles of gold, but the concept is basically the same.