#RPGaDAY2015 Day 1

The upcoming game I am most looking forward to: Planet Mercenary. I’m a fan of the Schlock Mercenary setting, but that wouldn’t really sell me on an RPG. What does get me though is the fact that you play an officer, and the party is supported by a group of grunts. This being a military game, it is quite possible and likely for the PCs to die in action, but the grunts you’ve been playing as a group are the source of field promotions, a tool to keep players in the game during character incapacity or death, and a good way to introduce new PCs.

Aarakocra in Na Essad

As winged creatures used to flying long distances in the storms of the Elemental Plane of Air, the Aarakocra were well suited for surviving their initial moments in the Fire Cavern.  Though rare, the Aarakocra have established a small village in a crevice in the roof of the cavern. The Aerie of Shearwind is protected by the vast range of ooze infested ceiling surrounding it as well as the general inaccessibility of a crack in the roof of the world.
The population hovers around 300 in Shearwind and a few score who trade goods and services with the other peoples of the fire cave.  The original community was founded by a flight of Aarakocra and a Windlord that were hunting for minions of Elemental Evil. Their semi-divine leader was captured by the cavern’s defense mechanisms, but willingly merged with the Guardians when she realized what their mission was. The remainder of the Flight found the cavern that became Shearwind, and began their ages long task of maintaining the integrity of Na Essad.
While the Aarakocra of Na Essad are capable of doing the dance to summon Air Elementals, the fact that their allies can never return to the elemental plane of air means that they are not willing to summon them often. There is a thriving colony of Air Elementals that inhabits the open air spaces of Na Essad because of these summons. The Air Elementals tend to avoid settled regions, but they do tend to follow individual Aarokocra around like curious, invisible puppies. This has proven awkward for bandits who thought a lone Aarokocra to be easy prey.

D&D 5e Inspiration Options

So the Inspiration mechanic is 5th edition’s big mechanical tie in to the new  background system. It is really cool that D&D is including indy game style role playing mechanics (not, you know the first time… 4th Edition had Skill Challenges which came out of Mouseguard.) The problem is that a lot of people don’t use it. DMs don’t use it for various reasons, including not thinking of it and being too grognardy. Players don’t use inspiration, well largely because it is mechanically uninteresting. A player can earn one inspiration point at a time. Then they can, in time of need, spend that point to get advantage on a roll, or give them to other players as “at a boys.” The problem is that advantage is super easy to get, and while it is pretty close to a +3 bonus on a roll, it just doesn’t feel like that big of a thing.

As a GM, one thing you can do is offload the mental effort involved in giving out Inspiration by keeping a stack of chips in the middle of the table and letting players give them to other players whenever they do something they feel warrants inspiration. I’d also let them bank one extra point. It is hard for some players to use their last point of anything.

For the players, I suggest expanding the abilities of inspiration points. Here are some potential uses:

Spend 1 Inspiration Point to
gain advantage on a save, attack roll, or skill check.

remove 1 failed death save

counteract one disadvantage applied to a roll (this allows advantage to function)

Spend 1 point of Inspiration as a bonus action to:

use a limited use class ability one additional time.

regain a spell slot you used within the last round.

spend 1 hit die without taking a short rest

Increase the save DC of the use of one spell by 2.

Overcome one type of Damage Reduction for a single attack or spell casting.

Here’s one that I like any time I have some sort of bennie mechanic:

Spend a single Inspiration point to make a minor true observation about the world. This is  where the players get to do things like add set dressing, create coincidental timings, or run into helpful npcs. For example, an inspiration point could let the pc be standing next to the rope for a chandelier in the castle even though it hadn’t been mentioned previously, or show up in just the nick of time to help an ally they were separated from, or when they return to town, the guard the PC has a friendly relationship with is stationed at the gate, circumventing hassle.

Crawling Claw Swarm (CR 16)

The process that a wizard undergoes to become a lich seldom leaves the wizard’s mind entirely sound. A common result is a deepening paranoia and a tendency to collect things. Over centuries these two patterns can generate some truely gruesome and absurd creations. The lich Malbeck grew fascinated with the animated hands known as crawling claws. He began by cutting off the hands of anyone who visited or attacked his tower, but rapidly started seeking out communities where he could twist the minds and hearts of the people living there, causing his victims to go on murder sprees, depopulating entire towns. His work created a gigantic swarm of undead hands that would rend living creatures apart. Eventually Malbeck was destroyed and his various creature dispersed. The swarm of crawling claws broke up and scattered to the 4 corners of the world, seeking out necromantic energies and bearing part of its creator’s malice.
This is an example Claw Swarm, one grown huge with victims.

Crawling Claw Swarm
Huge (15’x15′)Swarm of Tiny undead, neutral evil.

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AC 12

HP 299 (46d12)

Speed 20 ft, Climb 25 ft

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Str 13(+1), Dex 14 (+2), Con 11, Int 5 (-3), Wis 10, Cha 4 (-3)

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Damage resistances: Blunt, Slashing, and Piercing. Any Attack that targets a single target/

Vulnerable: Area Effects Attacks,

Damage Immunities Poison
Condition Immunities Charmed, Exhaustion, Poisoned, Paralyzed, Petrified, frightened, prone, restrained, stunned.

Senses Blindsight 30 ft, Passive Perception 10

Languages Understands but can not speak common.

Challange 16 (15,000)

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Turn Immunity: The swarm is immune to effects that turn undead

Recruiter: Any humanoid killed by the swarm is torn apart after combat, increasing the swarm’s hp by 4 up to its maximum hp.

Swarm: the swarm can occupy another creature’s space and vice versa, and the swarm can move through any opening large enough for a Tiny Crawling Claw. The swarm can’t regenerate hit points or gain temporary hp.

Amorphous. The swarm consists of 9 5×5 areas of crawling claws. It may occupy any 9 orthagonally adjacent spaces. The swarm can also bunch up in individual spaces, allowing it to make multiple attacks against targets in those spaces.

Undead traits: the swarm does not need to eat, breathe, drink, or sleep.

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Multi-attack: The swarm can make a Paralyzing Claws attack against every creature it shares a square with. If more than one square of the swarm occupies a given space, it can make one attack per square in that space against each target in that space.

Paralyzing Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, Reach 0, one target, 10 damage (2d8+1) +3 damage (1d6 cold). The target must succeed on a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or be paralized for 1 munute. The target may make an additional saving throw at the end of each of its turns to end the effect on itself in the case of a success.

Transcribed Notes Random Adventure Names.

Adventure Naming Device Roll a d20 3 times. The adventure name is “___First Word____ of the ____Second Word____ _____Third Word______”

 

 

1 Shroud Blessed Demise
2 Cavern Ebon Grave
3 Castle White Sword
4 Citadel Silver Blessing
5 Fortress Grey Overlord
6 Bane Green Doom
7 Secret Druid’s Lament
8 Time Necromacer’s Retreat
9 Forest Wizard’s Destiny
10 Desert Master’s Shadow
11 Village Rogue’s Storm
12 Tower King’s Throne
13 Dungeon Princess’s Crown
14 Trial Ogre’s Ghost
15 Web Giant’s Horde
16 Temple Dragon’s Mirror
17 Cult Witch’s Secret
18 Altar Merchant’s Grove
19 Fane Doomed Summit
20 Oubliette Liar’s Tome

Rage Zombie 5th edition

Rage Zombie

Medium undead, neutral evil

AC 8

Hitpoints 22 (3d8+9)

Speed 20

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Str 13 (+1), Dex 6 (-2), Con 16 (+3), Int 3 (-4), Wis 6 (-2), Cha 5 (-3)

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Saving Throws Wis+0

Resistances Piercing and Bludgeoning damage

Damage Immunities Poison

Condition Immunities: Poisoned

Senses Darkvision 30, blind beyond that. Passive Perception 8.

Languages A rage Zombie understands any languages it spoke in life, but can not speak.

Challenge: 1 (200 xp)

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Special:

Undead Fortitude. If damage reduces the zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw with a DC of 5+ the damage taken, unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the zombie drops to 1 hit point instead

 

Slow. A rage zombie can only take a single move or standard action each round.

 

Moan.  When a rage zombie sees a living creature, it moans loudly. Any rage zombie within 200 feet starts moaning and moving toward the originating rage zombie.

 

Rage.  When a rage zombie gets within 10 feet of a living target, it flies into a rage and can immediately close the distance between itself and the target. It also gains the ability to follow a target at its normal movement speed as a reaction.

 

Actions:

Multiattack A rage zombie attacks with 2 claws and a bite.

 

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack +3 to hit, reach 5ft, one target, Hit 8 (2d6+1) slashing damage.

 

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack +3 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target, Hit 11 (3d6+1) piercing damage. A humanoid slain by this attack rises again in an hour as a rage zombie.

5th Ed Monster conversions: Advanced and Huge Water Elementals

Water Elemental (Advanced)

Large elemental, Neutral

Armor Class 15

Hit Points 147 (14d10+56)

Speed 30 ft, Swim 90ft

Str 20 (+5) Dex 14(+2)  Con 19 (+4) Int 5 (-3) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 8(-1)

Resistances acid, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities Poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious.

Senses dark vision 60 ft, Tremmorsense 60′ passive Perception 11

Languages Aquan

Challenge 7 (2900 XP)

Special Abilities

Water Form The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Freeze If the elemental takes cold damage, it partially freezes; its speed is reduced by 20 feet until the end of its next turn.

Actions

Multiattack The Elemental makes two slam attacks

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10+5) bludgeoning damage.

Whelm (Recharge 4-6) Each creature in the elemental’s space must make a DC 17 Strength saving throw. On a failure, a target takes 16 (2d10+5) bludgeoning damage. If it is large or smaller, it is also grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends the creature I restrained and unable to breathe unless it can breathe water. If the saving throw is successful, the target is pushed out of the elemental’s space.

The elemental can grapple one Large, or up to two medium or smaller creatures at one time. At the start of each of the elemental’s turns, each target grappled by It takes 16 (2d10+5) bludgeoning damage. A creature within 5 feet of the elemental can pull a creature or object out of it by taking an action to make a DC 16 Strength and succeeding.

Huge Water Elemental

Huge elemental, Neutral

Armor Class 16

Hit Points 171 (18d10+72)

Speed 30 ft, Swim 90ft

Str 22 (+6) Dex 16(+3)  Con 19 (+4) Int 5 (-3) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 8(-1)

Resistances acid, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities Poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious.

Senses dark vision 60 ft, Tremmorsense 60′ passive Perception 12

Languages Aquan

Challenge 9 (5000 XP)

Special Abilities

Water Form The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Freeze If the elemental takes cold damage, it partially freezes; its speed is reduced by 20 feet until the end of its next turn.

Actions

Multiattack The Elemental makes two slam attacks

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage.

Whelm (Recharge 4-6) Each creature in the elemental’s space must make a DC 19 Strength saving throw. On a failure, a target takes 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage. If it is large or smaller, it is also grappled (escape DC 18). Until this grapple ends the creature I restrained and unable to breathe unless it can breathe water. If the saving throw is successful, the target is pushed out of the elemental’s space.

The elemental can grapple one Large, or up to two medium or smaller creatures at one time. At the start of each of the elemental’s turns, each target grappled by It takes 22 (3d10+6) bludgeoning damage. A creature within 5 feet of the elemental can pull a creature or object out of it by taking an action to make a DC 18 Strength and succeeding.

5th edition Monster conversion: Advanced and Huge Fire Elementals

Fire Elemental (Advanced)

Large elemental, Neutral

Armor Class 14

Hit Points 147 (14d10+42)

Speed 50 ft

Str 10(+0) Dex 21(+5)  Con 17 (+3) Int 6 (-2) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 7(-2)

Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities Fire, Poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious.

Senses dark vision 60 ft, Tremmorsense 60′ passive Perception 11

Languages Ignan

Challenge 7 (2900 XP)

Special Abilities

Fire Form The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing. A creature that touches the elemental or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 7 (2d6) fire damage. In addition the elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. The first time it enters a creature’s space on a turn, the creature takes 7 (2d6) fire damage and catches fire; until someone takes an action to douse the fire the creature takes 7 (2d6) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.

 Illumination The elemental sheds bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light in an additional 30 feet.

Water Susceptibility. For every 5 feet the elemental moves in water, or for every gallon of water splashed on it, it takes 1 cold damage.

 Actions

Multiattack The Elemental makes two touch attacks

Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (4d6+5) fire damage. If the target is a creature or a flammable object, it ignites. Until a creature takes an action to douse the fire, the target takes 7 (2d6) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.

Huge Fire Elemental

Huge elemental, Neutral

Armor Class 15

Hit Points 175 (14d12+56)

Speed 50 ft

Str 10(+0) Dex 23(+6)  Con 18 (+4) Int 6 (-2) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 7(-2)

Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities Fire, Poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious.

Senses dark vision 60 ft, Tremmorsense 60′ passive Perception 11

Languages Ignan

Challenge 9 (5000 XP)

Special Abilities

Fire Form The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing. A creature that touches the elemental or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 9 (2d8) fire damage. In addition the elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. The first time it enters a creature’s space on a turn, the creature takes 9 (2d8) fire damage and catches fire; until someone takes an action to douse the fire the creature takes 9 (2d8) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.

 Illumination The elemental sheds bright light in a 40-foot radius and dim light in an additional 40 feet.

Water Susceptibility. For every 5 feet the elemental moves in water, or for every gallon of water splashed on it, it takes 1 cold damage.

 Actions

Multiattack The Elemental makes two touch attacks

Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (4d8+6) fire damage. If the target is a creature or a flammable object, it ignites. Until a creature takes an action to douse the fire, the target takes 9 (2d8) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.

5th Edition Monster Conversion: Advanced and Huge Earth Elementals

Earth Elemental (Advanced)

Large elemental, Neutral

Armor Class 18

Hit Points 147 (14d10+70)

Speed 30, Burrow 30

Str 22(+6) Dex 8(-1)  Con 20 (+5) Int 5 (-3) Wis 12 (+1) Cha 5(-1)

Damage Vulnerabilities Thunder

Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities Poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious.

Senses dark vision 60 ft, Tremmorsense 60′ passive Perception 11

Languages Terran

Challenge 7 (2900 XP)

Special Abilities

Earth Glide The elemental can burrow through unworked earth and stone. Whie doing so, the elemental doesn’t disturb the material it moves through.

Siege Monster. The elemental deals double damage to objects and structures.

 Actions

Multiattack The Elemental makes two slam attacks

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (4d8+6) bludgeoning damage.

Earth Elemental (Huge)

Huge elemental, Neutral

Armor Class 19

Hit Points 175 (14d12+84)

Speed 30 ft., 30ft burrow

Str 24(+7) Dex 8(-1)  Con 22 (+6) Int 5 (-3) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 5(-1)

Damage Vulnerabilities Thunder

Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.

Damage Immunities Poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious.

Senses dark vision 60 ft, Tremmorsense 60′ passive Perception 11

Languages Terran

Challenge 9 (5000 XP)

Special Abilities

Earth Glide The elemental can burrow through unworked earth and stone. While doing so, the elemental doesn’t disturb the material it moves through.

Siege Monster. The elemental deals double damage to objects and structures.

 Actions

Multiattack The Elemental makes two slam attacks

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +11 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 29 (4d10+7) bludgeoning damage.

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