13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 4: Creation, Second Pass

In my last post in this series I drafted a set of twelve icons, based on twenty campaign elements or themes. This is to fit a Celtic-inspired setting, so we’ve got raids (between clans and otherwise), fey, giants, curses, spirits, invasion from a couple directions (sea reavers/’vikings’, and more civilized neighbors), plus a few other bits common to Celtic myth and history.

Applying the elements and themes to the points of a dodecahedron (d12) and grouping by face gave me the groupings below. I’ve done some initial interpretation and named the icons, now it’s time to look at who and what they are, and how they interrelate.

Icon Name Element Element Element Element Element Preliminary Notes
1 Nature’s Heart Giant Death/Spirit Prophecy Nature Forest Contends with the Giant King (conflict over prophecy?).
2 Giant King Giant Curse Prophecy Mountain King Rules over the giants… cursed by prophecy?
3 The Great Stag Giant Church Animal Mountain Forest Champion of nature
4 The Queen Underhill Prophecy Art/Music Fey King Nature Ruler of the fey (‘seelie court’?)
5 The Haunted Queen Death/Spirit Raid Church Storm Forest Spirit of the land, rising up against the invaders.
6 The Wild Wind Death/Spirit Ocean Art/Music Storm Nature ‘Force of nature’ of some sort; probably spirit and inspiration rather than death
7 The Lost Seeker Civilization Curse Animal Mountain Quest Civilized but outcast, seeking redemption?
8 The Broken King Craft/Artifice Curse Fey King Quest Deposed king of the fey (‘unseelie court’?)
9 The Lion Crusader Civilization Raid Church Animal Glory Seeks to bring civilization to the barbaric savages
10 Star King Undersea Craft/Artifice Ocean Art/Music Fey Sun/Moon Ruler of the fey court under the sea
11 The Sea Reaver Raid Ocean Glory Storm Sun/Moon Vikings?
12 The Radiant Queen Craft/Artifice Civilization Glory Quest Sun/Moon Seeks to bring light to all corners of the world

(more…)

13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 3: Creation, First Pass

I am exploring the creation of icons for a sandbox campaign setting. Icons can be useful in a sandbox for several reasons.

  • Icon agendas provide a overarching plots for PCs to interfere with;
  • Icon relationships provide many ‘sides’ for PCs to align with, often with conflicting or ambiguous goals;
  • Icons can illuminate and personify themes within the campaign.

I’ve drafted a list of twenty elements that could be significant in a Celtic-style setting. I will combine them using the polyhedral process to make twelve sets of campaign elements that might each be the basis of an icon. The elements are in fairly abstract form, because (unlike domains as used in Polyhedral Pantheons) they do not have concrete definitions. Instead, they can have different interpretations based on the other elements of the icons. For instance, one is ‘giant’: one of the icons is set against giants and wants to see them destroyed or chased away, another is a giant, and I don’t know yet about the third. I generally would like to see one icon with a ‘positive association’ with the element, one with a ‘negative association’ with the element, and one with a ‘conflicted association’ with the element… but it is only a preference, not a hard requirement.

  1. Giant
  2. Nature
  3. Fey
  4. Church/Organized Religion
  5. Prophecy
  6. Craft/Artifice
  7. Ocean/Lake/River
  8. Raiding
  9. Quest
  10. Mountain
  11. Animal
  12. Glory
  13. Civilization
  14. Storm/Wind
  15. Forest
  16. Death/Spirit
  17. Curse
  18. Sun (Sun/Moon/Stars probably)
  19. Art/Music
  20. Wisdom/Knowledge

Now to combine them. I have a few relationships I want to ensure, but the rest can be fairly random and interpreted afterward. I have assigned the twenty elements to the points of a dodecahedron (d12):

Element Icon Icon Icon
Giant Nature’s Heart Giant King Great Stag
Craft/Artifice Broken King Star King Undersea Radiant Queen
Death/Spirit Nature’s Heart Haunted Queen Wild Wind
Civilization Lost Seeker Lion Crusader Radiant Queen
Curse Giant King Lost Seeker Broken King
Raid Haunted Queen Lion Crusader Sea Reaver
Prophecy Nature’s Heart Giant King Queen Underhill
Ocean Wild Wind Star King Undersea Sea Reaver
Church Great Stag Haunted Queen Lion Crusader
Art/Music Queen Underhill Wild Wind Star King Undersea
Animal Great Stag Lost Seeker Lion Crusader
Fey Queen Underhill Broken King Star King Undersea
Mountain Giant King Great Stag Lost Seeker
Glory Lion Crusader Sea Reaver Radiant Queen
King Giant King Queen Underhill Broken King
Storm Haunted Queen Wild Wind Sea Reaver
Nature Nature’s Heart Queen Underhill Wild Wind
Quest Lost Seeker Broken King Radiant Queen
Forest Nature’s Heart Great Stag Haunted Queen
Sun/Moon Star King Undersea Sea Reaver Radiant Queen

This gives me the following icons and their elements. I’ve done some preliminary interpretation of the results.

Icon Name Element Element Element Element Element Preliminary Notes
1 Nature’s Heart Giant Death/Spirit Prophecy Nature Forest Contends with the Giant King (conflict over prophecy?).
2 Giant King Giant Curse Prophecy Mountain King Rules over the giants… cursed by prophecy?
3 The Great Stag Giant Church Animal Mountain Forest Champion of nature
4 The Queen Underhill Prophecy Art/Music Fey King Nature Ruler of the fey (‘seelie court’?)
5 The Haunted Queen Death/Spirit Raid Church Storm Forest Spirit of the land, rising up against the invaders.
6 The Wild Wind Death/Spirit Ocean Art/Music Storm Nature ‘Force of nature’ of some sort; probably spirit and inspiration rather than death
7 The Lost Seeker Civilization Curse Animal Mountain Quest Civilized but outcast, seeking redemption?
8 The Broken King Craft/Artifice Curse Fey King Quest Deposed king of the fey (‘unseelie court’?)
9 The Lion Crusader Civilization Raid Church Animal Glory Seeks to bring civilization to the barbaric savages
10 Star King Undersea Craft/Artifice Ocean Art/Music Fey Sun/Moon Ruler of the fey court under the sea
11 The Sea Reaver Raid Ocean Glory Storm Sun/Moon Vikings?
12 The Radiant Queen Craft/Artifice Civilization Glory Quest Sun/Moon Seeks to bring light to all corners of the world

Some of the pairings surprised me a little (church and raiding?), but I am very pleased with how some of these fit together. Already I have something of a feel for these icons, and it feels like there is the potential for some complex texture to this setting. I see all sorts of possible relationships and links between the different icons. I’ll explore that in the next post in this series.

I mentioned yesterday aiming for thirteen icons, but have shown only twelve. The thirteenth will be much as 13th Age‘s Prince of Shadows, who breaks the rules and doesn’t fit in with the rest of the patterns.

13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 2: Definition and Planning

A couple days ago I briefly considered using something like 13th Age-style icons in a sandbox setting. Having had a couple days to let it sink in, I still like the idea and I’m ready to develop it further.

Defining Icons

Icons in 13th Age are powerful NPCs. They are personally powerful and capable (that is, high level), but that is not the important thing about them.

Each icon has an agenda, or several, that to some degree defines the icon. The Archmage isn’t simply a powerful wizard, but a powerful wizard dedicated to preserving the Empire… and performed experiments that put reality at risk. The Crusader isn’t just a powerful warrior or even a holy warrior, is the fist of the dark gods against a greater threat. The High Druid isn’t just a nature priest, but the champion of the wild and liberator of nature chained by the Empire.

Many NPCs have agendas, but the icons have the wherewithal to bring them to fruition… but are balanced closely enough that none dares risk direct confrontation. Instead, they act primarily through intermediaries, relying on intrigue and agents to advance their plans and achieve their goals.

Shadowy figures with broad, contending agendas manipulating things from behind the scenes? Yes, This could be a useful thing in a sandbox setting,

Icon Relationships

The icons hold relationships with each other, but they are rarely simple. The Archmage is dedicated to preserving the Empire, so it seems the Emperor would be an ally… but what happens if the Archmage decides the Emperor is not the best for the Empire? Or if the Empire decides the Archmage, staunch ally or not, is too great a threat to leave alone? The Crusader and the Great Gold Wyrm are greatly opposed in alignment (LG vs. LE) but fully committed to preventing demons from overrunning the land and might find themselves allied out of necessity.

Icon-PC Relationships

In 13th Age, PCs are expected to have ‘three points’ of relationship to icons. Each PC’s relationships might be with a single icon or several, and might be positive, negative, or conflicted. The relationships are sometimes used by the GM to determine the course of an adventure (each player rolls their relationship dice, and if the relationship comes up the GM might incorporate elements of that relationship into the adventure).

PCs might also find themselves in a position where their relationships may be of use. A PC might be able to find allies (a positive relationship with the Great Gold Wyrm might find allies among a paladin order, while a negative relationship with the Diabolist might find the same with followers of the Crusader), or be able to use the relationship to gain a boon in a similar way.

Creating Icons for the Sandbox

The 13th Age core rulebook presents the icons in a fairly abstract manner. The goals and a description of each is provided, but they are not even personally named. In a way they are institutions rather than people — indeed, some have had several people take their roles — defined by their agendas. In the setting they occupy a place somewhere between normal mortals and the gods.

While not deities, icons do represent major elements or themes of a setting. In the 13th Age setting there is a great deal of emphasis on demons from the abyss: the Crusader is committed to destroying them, the Diabolist to outperforming them, and the Great Gold Wyrm’s very body seals the abyss as best it can to prevent them from escaping. ‘Demons’ are a Big Thing. The Archmage, the Diabolist, and the Lich King are all powerful arcanists. The Dwarf King, the Elf Queen, and the Emperor are all rulers. The Great Gold Wyrm, the High Druid, and the Priestess are all powerful divine figures.

It seems unlikely that an icon could exist without aspects of that icon being significant themes in the setting. It would make no sense for there to be a Pirate Queen icon in a setting without piracy, or at least ships and sailing, being important. Important elements don’t need to have icons, but icons represent important things.

So. Each icon represents several things important to a setting. Important things can be represented by several icons. Each icon representing an important thing might have a different view on it, or represent a different aspect of that thing.

Last April I considered 13th Age icons as an adaptation of the polyhedral pantheons technique. I think it’s time to explore that further.

Planning Polyhedral Icons

I think for thematic reasons 13th Age presents thirteen icons. It fits thematically, but the core rulebook does mention that historically the icons have changed from time to time. This is usually a significant event (the last time the Orc Lord was present the Lich King fell). The characters who take on the roles change, the natures of the icons change, and even the number of icons change.

I’m going to stick with thirteen icons for now. This is a large enough number that different subsets of icons might be interested in a particular event. That is, there are enough icons that adventures can each be linked to different icons without involving others. I think I’ll want to keep a trickster icon similar to the Prince of Shadows present, and having one more icon than can be comfortably rolled on a single die is helpful.

This leaves twelve icons, each with several interests, with each interest shared (or contested) with others. This sounds like a good fit for a dodecahedron (d12), but I’ll need twenty campaign elements to fit the points. I will not assign campaign elements to the faces at this time. I expect to focus on the ‘face icons’, without exploring at this time the creation of secondary icons on the points.

I will explore the creation of the icons in my next post.

13th Age-Style Icons in the Sandbox, Part 1: Introduction

One of the cooler ideas in 13th Age is the icons, thirteen powerful figures who have their fingers in intrigues all around the campaign. In fact, I consider the breadth of their influence their defining factor rather than their personal power.

I am starting a new project where I will facilitate the creation of a sandbox setting. The working title is “Not An Adventure Path”. I’ve always been leery of the expression “Adventure Path” because of the implied linear nature. I find linear campaigns to be limiting to PCs, and to be brittle, depending on specific results and outcomes. Instead, we will be developing a set of related adventures that can be resilient in the face of PC intervention (remember, plots exist for PCs to tamper with).

I realized recently that something like the icons could make a wonderful fit for a sandbox, especially when PCs already have relationships (positive, negative, or conflicted) to the icons. These provide built-in hooks for adventures by drawing up sides and knowing who the major figures are.

D&D 5e SRD Now Live… and Released Under OGL

Wizards of the Coast has released a 5e System Reference Document… and unlike 4e, it’s released under the Open Gaming License v1.0a — the same license they released D&D 3e and 3.5.

A quick skim of the Product Identity and Open Game Content declarations in the license looks very much like that of D&D 3.x. It looks as though they’re going back to the best release model they’ve found for D&D. You can now build on it and publish, without feeling like you’re running under the radar.

I’ll be interested to see if they extend this to follow-on products. With Pathfinder, pretty much all the crunch is (or becomes) available under the OGL, but in 3e and 3.5 this was not the case, almost all the later books were almost entirely closed content.

Planar-Pantheon Analysis: Elemental Tetratheon

I’ll be writing up some sample planes for Planar Trappings, to show how it fits together. (In draft) I’m expanding the list of traits so it includes the core domains (which include alignments and elements, as well as major societal abstractions).

This both expanded the sorts of traits available (which is handy to me) and gave me an immediate source of planar ideas. If the nature of a deity affects the plane the god lives on, and there is high congruency between deific domains and planar traits, it seems evident that the home of a pantheon can be determined at a high level by the domains assigned to the deities of the pantheon.

Subpantheon
Domain Air Fire Earth Water
Air 1000
Animal 0 1000
Artifice 100 0
Chaos 0 0 0
Charm
Community 100 0
Darkness 0 1000
Death 1000 0
Destruction 1000 0
Earth 1000
Evil 0 0 0
Fire 1000
Glory 0 100
Good 0 0 0
Healing 0 100
Knowledge 1000 0
Law 0 0 0
Liberation 1000 0
Luck 100 0
Madness 1000 0
Magic 100 0
Nobility 0 1000
Plant 0 1000
Protection 0 1000
Repose 100 0
Rune 0 100
Strength 0 100
Sun 1000 0
Travel 100 0
Trickery 0 1000
War 0 100
Water 1000
Weather 0 100

I’ve started an analysis to see how good or bad this idea is. I created a spreadsheet with all the domains listed and marked correspondence between the domains and the pantheon. ‘1’ indicates that a deity exists in the pantheon having the domain as a primary domain, ‘0’ indicates that a deity exists in the pantheon with the domain as a second domain.

Last one for today, I’m looking at the elemental tetratheon. Four subpantheons oriented around the hermetic elements, the sets are largely disjoint with some small overlap between them. Let’s see what they look like, though.

The air subpantheon, once worshiped by the Ostechen before the deadly wind swept their land, has Air, Death, Liberation, and Madness as their greatest domains, and Magic, Repose, and Travel as lesser domains. There are no good deities in this subpantheon. I imagine the deities’ plane is largely barren, full of abandoned settlements, wind that howls with the sounds of madness, and the few inhabitants constantly wandering, seeking salvation.

The fire subpantheon, worshiped by the Sretan, are literally much brighter. The deities’ primary domains are Fire, Knowledge, Nobility, and Sun. Their lesser domains are Artifice, Healing, and Luck. There are no evil deities in this subpantheon. It seems likely that the mortal culture is much like ancient Greece and Rome, a building and bustling civilization full of enlightenment. This will be reflected in the deities’ home plane, with idyllic terrain, wondrous engineering and architecture, and many philosophers and artisans among the ruling deities.

The earth subpantheon, who currently are patrons of the Kamen, are somewhere between the two. The subpantheon’s primary domains are Earth, Animal, Destruction, and Plant. The secondary domains are Community, Rune, and Strength. The subpantheon has no chaotic deities, but is largely and coldly impartial to the plight of mortals, watching civilizations rise and fall in time. The deities’ plane is well-grown with forests and wild animals, and full of the ruins of settlements overgrown and lost.

The water subpantheon is worshiped by the Moreplovas, a seafaring society who lives near, at, and on the ocean. The subpantheon’s primary domains are Water, Darkness, Protection, and Trickery. The secondary domains are Glory, War, and Weather. There are no lawful deities in this subpantheon. The Moreplovas culture is full of acts of derring-do, of buccaneers and pirates and privateers, of wild and risky plots and plans. The deities’ plane is largely water, with various groupings of islands where ‘permanent’ settlements can be found of inhabitants of all types… and not all settlements are on islands. Some float about the surface of the infinite ocean, some are deep beneath the waves. All interact in a wild roil of activity.

I think I could make this work on a single major plane, with four subregions of different nature. I’m not sure that’s how I want to do it, though, if only because it is unclear how they interact along their borders, or what might be between them. I think I’ll treat them as four distinct planes, perhaps even as replacements for the common elemental planes, but with connections between each pair of planes.

In each subpantheon there are three deities, each with one of the major domains of a different neighboring subpantheon. These deities, or the demenses, might be the major links between the subpantheons. I will explore this idea in another post tomorrow.

Planar-Pantheon Analysis: Goblin Pantheon

I’ll be writing up some sample planes for Planar Trappings, to show how it fits together. (In draft) I’m expanding the list of traits so it includes the core domains (which include alignments and elements, as well as major societal abstractions).

This both expanded the sorts of traits available (which is handy to me) and gave me an immediate source of planar ideas. If the nature of a deity affects the plane the god lives on, and there is high congruency between deific domains and planar traits, it seems evident that the home of a pantheon can be determined at a high level by the domains assigned to the deities of the pantheon.

Subpantheon
Domain Vorubec Jhesiri Kouzelnik
Air 00 10
Animal 1000 0
Artifice
Chaos 000 10
Charm
Community 0 0 10
Darkness 100 0
Death 00 10
Destruction 100000
Earth 100 0
Evil 10 000
Fire 0 100
Glory
Good
Healing
Knowledge 0 100
Law 0 100
Liberation
Luck 1000 0
Madness 10000
Magic 000 100
Nobility
Plant
Protection
Repose
Rune 10 0 00
Strength 10 00
Sun
Travel 100 00
Trickery 10 00
War 00 100
Water 10 0 0
Weather 0 10 0

I’ve started an analysis to see how good or bad this idea is. I created a spreadsheet with all the domains listed and marked correspondence between the domains and the pantheon. ‘1’ indicates that a deity exists in the pantheon having the domain as a primary domain, ‘0’ indicates that a deity exists in the pantheon with the domain as a second domain.

Looking at the goblin pantheon, there is much less consistency between the subpantheons. Much to my surprise, the three subpantheons all have deities with the Community, Rune, Water, and Weather domains. If the three subpantheons share a plane, there should be trappings for each of these common, if mildly presented.

The vorubec are insular and the least nomadic goblins, and somehow have the ‘least Community’. Their strongest domains are Animal and Luck, with Chaos, Darkness, Earth, and Magic fairly close. The Kouzelnik deities have slightly more Magic, but I didn’t expect the Vorubec to have this much. I picture the plane being closely forested hills, full of uncanny weather and shrouded in shadow and mist.

The jhesiri are more like stereotypical goblins, ravaging the land as best their little bodies allow… which is actually pretty effectively. Their deities have domains focused on Destruction (all the deities of destruction; no other goblin deity has this domain), with Fire, Travel, and War at lower levels. The jhesiri maraud the countryside tearing things up. I picture their deities’ plane as being hot and dry, with the shattered ruins of former civilizations.

The kouzelnik are the mad goblins, torn by conflicting dichotomies. Doomed to wander in search of something they cannot identify, their deities have the Madness domain most strongly (all the goblin deities with the Madness domain are part of this subpantheon), with Knowledge, Law, and Magic next, and Evil right behind it. Goblin deities with Knowledge, Law, and lots of Magic, it’s not surprising they’re mad. Their plane is probably pretty hellish — not full of fire perhaps, but teeming with purveyors of forbidden lore, screams of the tormented, and so on.

Unlike the Shu-shi pantheon’s plane, I’m not entirely certain the goblin deities share a single plane. There is some mild consistency between them, but unlike the Shu-shi there is little coherence to their cultures. The cultures share common background, and I don’t doubt they interact, but I’m not convinced they’re close enough that their deities would share a plane. I think I’m going to consider them three separate planes. They might interact somehow, but… actually, what if the planes are completely separated, and the subpantheons of the different tribes have to interact through mortal intermediaries? I think there might be a good path here.

Planar-Pantheon Analysis: Shu-shi Pantheon

I’ll be writing up some sample planes for Planar Trappings, to show how it fits together. (In draft) I’m expanding the list of traits so it includes the core domains (which include alignments and elements, as well as major societal abstractions).

This both expanded the sorts of traits available (which is handy to me) and gave me an immediate source of planar ideas. If the nature of a deity affects the plane the god lives on, and there is high congruency between deific domains and planar traits, it seems evident that the home of a pantheon can be determined at a high level by the domains assigned to the deities of the pantheon.

Subpantheon
Domain Auspicious Normal Uncanny
Air 0 10 0
Animal 0 100
Artifice
Chaos 10000
Charm
Community 1000 0 0
Darkness
Death
Destruction
Earth 00 10
Evil
Fire
Glory
Good 10 00
Healing 10 00
Knowledge 00 10 0
Law 10 00
Liberation 0 100
Luck 10 000
Madness
Magic
Nobility 1000 0
Plant 0 100
Protection 00 1 00
Repose 0 0 100
Rune 0 100 0
Strength 1000 0
Sun 100 00
Travel 0 10
Trickery 00 10
War
Water 00 10
Weather 0000 10

I’ve started an analysis to see how good or bad this idea is. I created a spreadsheet with all the domains listed and marked correspondence between the domains and the pantheon. ‘1’ indicates that a deity exists in the pantheon having the domain as a primary domain, ‘0’ indicates that a deity exists in the pantheon with the domain as a second domain.

Looking at the Shu-shi pantheon (“Chinese halflings”) I see that Air, Community, Knowledge, Protection, and Rune domains are present in all three subpantheons (auspicious deities, normal deities, uncanny deities). No matter where you go in the plane you can expect to see evidence of this.

The Jixiang Shen (auspicious deities) have the following primary domains: Community, Good, Healing, Law, Luck, Nobility. Their region of the plane more strongly exhibits these traits than others: I picture something like a holy city.

The Zhengchang Shen (common deities) have the following primary domains: Air, Animal, Earth, Knowledge, Plant, Protection, Rune, Strength, Sun, Water. If the region of the auspicious deities is a holy city, this is likely to seem like well-settled land, orderly and well-cultivated.

The Bukeishiyi Shen have the following primary domains: Chaos (all the chaos), Liberation, Repose (‘nice death domain’), Travel, Trickery, Weather. These are likely small pockets of specific interests, possibly treated as subplanes, scattered about the plane but likely farther from the holy city.

There also is overlap between them. The following domains are shared between the auspicious and normal deities: Animal, Earth, Good, Healing, Law, Luck, Nobility, Plant, Water. The following domains are shared between the normal and uncanny deities: Strength, Sun, Travel, Trickery, Weather. I think I could use this to pretty reasonably lay out a regional map showing how the various traits could vary by region.

Recent Releases 2015-12-27: Rogues, Fighters, and Polyhedral Pantheons

Recent releases, as of December 2015.

Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons cover

Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons

Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons

The gods create the world… and you create the gods.

Whether you need only a small pantheon with a few deities, or a larger pantheon with dozens of deities, Polyhedral Pantheons gives you tools to make pantheon creation easy. This book also contains three pantheons and over seventy deities as examples you can use in your game.

  • The Shu-shi Pantheon, venerated by Chinese halflings who seek a life of peace and serenity.
  • The Goblin Pantheon, propitiated by goblins who live hard lives defined by isolation, destruction, and madness.
  • The Elemental Tetratheon, shared by a four nations and divided by element.

This product includes Echelon Explorations: Polyhedral Pantheons Worksheets as a second PDF.

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters cover

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Fighters (PRD-only)

This is the *ahem* “Rough And Fast” version. Classes and other game elements are present, but the additional features such as the full feat diagrams — which will be many, these books each contain hundreds of combat feats, 484 in the PRD-only book and 587 in the 3pp+PRD book — are not yet done. As such, the books are currently offered at a 50% discount (which will become a 25% discount as work is completed, and no discount when done… the intermediate and final documents will be added to the products as and when they are done).

Big thanks to Craig Brasco for the cover image. I find his sketches can be good enough for use on covers, you can see more of his work at craigbrasco.com.

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues cover

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues (3pp+PRD)

Echelon Reference Series: Rogues (PRD-only)

This is also an RAF (“Rough And Fast”) release. Classes (rogue and ninja), archetypes, class feature, feats, and so on, but diagrams are not yet done. Half-price for now, with the updated versions added to the product as they are completed.

Sometimes Adversarial DMs Can Be Fun…

Long, long ago we were playing in a campaign and had a flying ship. We hired troll shock troops. A little more expensive than normal mercenaries, but the extra cost was offset by reduced materiel costs — we didn’t have to pay for parachutes, the trolls would aim when they dropped on enemy troops.

time passed, we were away from our ship and the DM evidently forgot we had one…

The DM had ruled that ‘only fire and acid damage’ didn’t regenerate, so we couldn’t do the ‘chop it up and burn the bits’ solution. So on a later adventure we didn’t have enough fire solutions to completely cook the (not-our-employee) trolls and took to basically mincing them, reducing their hit points to deep negative values so we’d have time to do our thing and escape before they reconstituted enough to be a threat again.

This made our DM sad, so he ruled that it wasn’t the biggest chunk of troll that regenerated, but that trolls were rather like worms and each piece could reconstitute. He established this as a hard rule in the campaign.

We called them ‘mincelings’ for a while, but he ruled that they would grow back to full size and the name never stuck.

more time passes, we returned to our ship and some time later, to war

Me: “Rules define the world physics, right?”

DM: “Yeah.”

Me: “And house rules are as strong as published rules, right?”

DM: “Stronger, they overrule the published rules.” smug look

Me: “Okay. I make some changes to the ship’s facilities.”

Later:

“‘Awright boys! I learned something about you lot while we were on the ground. I pay normal rate for each of you what drops, but if you want to make even more money, I’ll pay the same again for each and every one of you boards later if you go through this woodchipper on your way down!'”

The look of horror on the DM’s face was amazing. But I’ll give him full points for honesty and integrity, and openness to the sheer awesomeness of the vision — even if it was nasty and sticky — of a trollential downpour of regenerating monsters to crush the Alliance of Light.