Npc’s

This will probably be a short post about Npc’s and how I handle them.

Regardless of the system you use most npc’s dont need to be full fleshed out going into a game. Just the basic idea of them and the important part is that they do not steal the show.

I always bring a notebook to write down anything that comes up with npc’s such as brief background or motivation and if something comes up during the session I jot it down so that their story is consistent.

It never fails that you spend hours developing npc’s to only have them never used to the potential you planned for and on the other hand a random npc’s get more attention than you expected. Just go along with it. Some of the best and most memorable npc’s come from these events.

For stat blocks I tend to just make them up as I go. If for some random reason the group decides that its important to battle a random npc’s or if that npc’s is brought in to combat for whatever reason you can alway use the monster manual and pull some generic stat blocks or you can have fun with it and just make it up on the fly.

There is no right or wrong way to do this but for continuity take notes. This will create a more believable world for you and your players.

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Hooks and getting the quest together

Hooks

An important part of starting any adventure or quest is giving a reason to even go. The motivation behind the adventure. Something to get the party hooked.

This greatly depends upon the people you are trying to motivate. Are they seeking treasures to increase their wealth, glory and renown or maybe it’s something personal.

Knowing the characters and what motivates them will help hook them in without railroading them towards a goal you want them to.

Let’s look at the background stories I have developed for a future adventure. Cole has become lost after attempting to steal an artifact. Now I could easily just state that the group knew him and has personal intrest in bringing him home to his now orphaned children. Perhaps a member of the group was orphaned as well and doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else. Maybe the children or a family member pooled together a reward for finding their father/family member.

Let’s say the group are complete strangers and they each need motivation and a reason to come together. With this and not knowing my future members I will develop a blanket hook and then cater it to the group as I find out what they would motivate them to search for Cole.

Our current blanket hook

We will start with the idea that the group is all in Arkala, our fictional city. Cole is now missing and Bhomin, our villain, is devising another plan to get the artifact.

Bhomin will create some chaos to ensure the town is not ready for his next attempt. The dream I gave Hartwell about the oncoming dust storm will be just that. A dust storm comes in bringing all the outlying areas of farmers and smaller villages to seek refuge in the Arkala. This will create a need to pool resources for the refugees.

This gives a few options for where our group comes from. Are they a refugee? A guard in the city? Maybe a student at the University?

When the city’s resources are spread thin Bhomin will stage an attack on the town, this can bring a group together by making them survive together.

Where to go from here

Now that we brought the party together with an event its about how to get them to want to pursue our villain and continue the story. This gives us options based on the events of the attack. Did the group succeed in preventing the attack and thwart Bhomin in his attempt to get the artifact. Then maybe now Bhomin plans for another attack or if money is a motivation maybe Bhomin’s identity is hidden and he offers the group riches to acquire the artifact. Maybe the group, through investigations finds out what is happening and works to prevent it from happening again.

Now on the other hand say they fail, and Bhomin is able to retrieve the artifact. Motivation could be saving the world or retrieving it for the groups own nefarious reasons. The options are endless and when it comes to this its about being flexible and working with the group you have.

Let’s say they still don’t care enough to stop him and go off doing something else. What would happen if Bhomin succeeded in awakening Y’thcal is it really that bad?

Having an idea of all the possible outcomes or even just coming up with them on the fly is a way to making an excellent story and a fun experience for the players as well as the DM. Trying to force a specific path generally means a blah story.

Happy questing!

Grimm Pathfinder: The new tale of snow white

Here is a first of many posts based off my new campaign. The next few posts will be going more into depth on the plots in the campaign I am currently running.

This is possibly the main plot and antagonist of the campaign. Snow White, or as my players have named her, White Snow, has been locked away. The party is unaware of the Evil that has been locked away with her. I have made the dwarves from the tale, evil minions that are set out to get the princess free.

Their main objective is to convince a group of adventurers to free the princess. While yes the dwarves might beable to free her themselves, what fun would that be? So they play as if they are but only miners and they need the help of stong warriors and that stuff. I wanted to intruduce the party to the dwarves without just saying 7 stout dwarves approach you. So what better way to intruduce the party to both eachother and to a group of dwarves than a drunken bar fight? Nothing, exactly.

The dwarves plant some object on the trail and watch to see if anyone picks it up. They then use this as a way to “strike up” a conversation. While this could have gone multiple ways depending on how the group or player wanted to handle being accused of theft. It went the way I had figured it would. A fight broke out between a few of the dwarves and a few of the PC’s. Then it turned into an all out brawl until the authorities finally came to break up the fight. Nothing like setting part of the tavern on fire brings the town guard.

The eldest of the dwarves appologizes for the brawl and says that the dwarves have been alittle hot headed after finding out that a certain princess had been wrongfully imprisoned by her “evil” step mother. He was rather convincing as the party, despite being somewhat disbelieving, decided well lets help out. There is coin, glory and a beautiful damsel! That’s what quests are all about.

The dwarves and the players sat down and discussed a plan of action. They way I had somewhat wanted it to go happened. The party would wait two weeks to strike the prison when a majority of the guards would be an the Kings funeral. This gave the party two weeks of down time to do some minor adventuring to build up some fame with the locals and get some treasures that should help out with rescuing the princess.

They party also came up with some other interesting ideas on how they would rescue the princess. Some said lets not wait, lets walk our undergeared level one behinds straight to a heavely guarded prison bust out into then out of the prison, leaving chaos in our wake. That went against a few of the other party members alignments so that was out of the question. There was a question about hiring a rogue to help sneak them in and do this very stealthfully, but unfortunatly a majority of the group was not the stealthy type. The final option before they decided on just waiting until the guards numbers where lower, was to get arrested and while in the prison try and break everyone out including the princess. This last idea was probably the most enticing. I contemplated letting them do this just to do an amazing prison break in a good based campaign. I could think of plenty of ways to roleplay this out. Guards that are on the side of the princess could help out. Maybe the dwarves could deliver a cake with a pickaxe in it. Who knows? But it would have been amazing and this might even still happen.

So once the Princess has been rescued, this is where a lot of improv will come in. She may disapear and comeback later to be a menace or if the party realizes their mistake right away she may just then do something to escape and then become an enemy. I’m still working on this part. I do know I want her to be an witch or a sorcerees.

Anyway, only the first part has really been completed in the campaign. Right now the group is trying to get prepared by following up on some rumors and making a bit of gold and gathering treasure in order to have a successful prison break.

Any feedback or suggestions would be tremendous.

Grimm Pathfinder Part 2

So Like I said in the last post, this will be about the plot hooks I have developed so far. I’ll try and give a brief description of each one and then maybe in future posts eleborate on the entire plot.

The Main Plot

So why exactly are the party members together, who is the main antagonist in this story. Why none other than Snow White. I have done my best to use diferent names. I found a nice anagram creator for making names for the fairy tale names. The story begins with the Death of Snow White’s father. Everyone from the Kingdom and naughboring Kingdoms have come to mourn the loss of the King. The group of adventures were told that part of their backstory was they were to be traveling to a small village outside of the palace. Starryhallow. They where to meet in the tavern there. A group of dwarves (seven of them) pleaded with anyone in the tavern to assist with rescuing a wrongfully imprissoned princess (Snow White) from her evil step mother. In this story Snow White is an evil sorcerer and the Queen was only trying to protect the land. Snow Whites minions (the seven dwarves) try to recruit the PC’s into rescuing the princess.

They offer sugestions to the party like. The funeral would be the prime time to strike the queens dungeon as it will be least guarded. While the party has come up with other ideas, like how can they sneak or disguise or even get sent to the prison Snow White is held in to attempt to break her out. While I have had to think of ways to play out any path the decide to take the main focus is for either the party or someone else to break out the princess. If the decide it is to dangerous. She will eventually break free. Then the terror will rain down upon the entire kingdom. Or atleast thats the plan.

Sub Plots: (These sub plots can be played in anyorder really I just have to adjust the NPC’s based on what level the party is. I have given them plenty of things to investigate, since they showed up to the town a month prior to the funeral.)

This one was based on Red riding hood. But with the same theme, I want who the party would expect to be the good guy be the bad guy and yes I know I can’t do this with every story or they would meta game and know who the villian would be. So this one starts with rumors around the town that the old lady and her grand daughter have been complaining about wolfs around their cottage in the woods.

By the time the party gets to the cottage Grandma has already been eaten by “the wolf” and this is similar to the version seen in “Once Upon a Time” where the red riding hood is a wolf. In this case she is a werewolf. Either while in the home or just outside of it, the party is ambushed by wolfs. The party can either track the wolfs to a cave were Red Riding Hood is hiding out after murdering her grandmother. Or she will eventually get paranoid and try and get rid of any witnesses.

I have another one based on Cinderella, She is a insane (literally) druid who attacks with her birds. Her Stepmother and Stepsisters attempt to lock her up but the party could hear rumors and attempt to investigate this. Causing Cinderalla to unleash her wrath on her family and then possibly the town.

The next one and final one I have writen right now is based on Hansel and Gretel. This time Hansel and Gretel are not the bad guys, well not intentionally. The witch in the candy house has performed some dark ritual on the childern turning them in the little imps maybe? I had the original idea of them being Goblins, but we will see.

I started roughly on a pied pipep story where, he is a wererat and he lores children into the woods to be devoured by his rats and himself. It was just a though. I still have a long way to go.

Any feed back would be awesome. I really want this to work out and become an epic tale.

Grimm Pathfinder Game Part 1

So it has been an extremely long time since I last posted anything. I have just been extremely busy with work, the new baby and other things. During the last time I posted, I had really gotten into playing more tabletop games than computer games. So I really haven’t been playing DDO at all.

I enjoy writing and playing out stories. I also enjoy DMing Tabletop games. I was playing a lot of D&D 3.5 and those familiar with DDO know the basic rules of that system. The problem with that is that there is so many extra books ad rules that are completely unbalanced. I had a warrior with an infinate attack combo, and other players that could devistate creatures way above the recomended CR(Chalange Rating). I soon switched over to Pathfinder and it to has its flaws just like anyother game, but it has been a whole lot easier to balance fun and challenges along with keeping an interesting story. You can do this with 3.5 edition but i have just been enjoying the changes made to Pathfinder and it has made for a very enjoyable game.

I ran a few premade adventure paths. They are just campaigns already balanced and designed for four players. I really enjoyed the “Carrion Crown” AP. It was a horror themed campaign and it was fun throughout the entire adventure. But it wasn’t something I could really turn into my own story. It had predesigned encounters and everything was linear. The party was given a very specific mission and they were more or less guided by me down this story. I was able to change a few of the fights, as a few of them were redundant.

So I ventured out took a small break from gaming and was watching some TV. Suddenly I found myself inspired by the TV series “Once Upon A Time”. I said I could make a campaign based on fairy tales. I went to the drawing board. I didn’t want to go by the “Disney” versions of the fairy tales. So I started reading the original Grimms Brothers versions. They were gresome almost more of a horror story than the happy stories you saw as a child.

I decided that I would make this a horror campaign, with running a horror AP, I had a good idea on how to create that sense of suspense and horror. Now I just had to figure out who would be my antagonists, what would be the adventurers goal in the campaign. What if your clasic heroes were actually the villians?

I might end this post here and pick up in a few with the current plot hooks I have developed than in the third part a basic introduction to the setting and where the characters are at now. So that maybe I can recap and figure out ways to improve the campaign as a whole.

Just a short Story

My last post was not exactly what I had intended to post. I was writing it so I didn’t lose my thoughts and it was intended to be a draft. I had wanted to make a better short story. I think this post will be the beginning and I’ll have more posts on the story until it concludes. So for the first 6-8 sessions I had been running a module written for 4E that I converted to both Eberron and 3.5ed. It was fun. And after the first session, I realized I had to further adjust some of the creatures inhabiting the dungeons to put them on par with how challenging the encounters would have been with a standard group of characters. And the ogres and pixie will balance out more in the end as they both had a Level Adjust and will not be as high of class level as the other members of the group. I’ll add some pictures and such when I get a chance.

Now for the story of the Heroes;

A map of the area in Karrnath were the story takes place before the island. I did not make this. I found it somewhere. I wish I remember where to give proper credit but I cant.

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Prolog in the perspective of three Lakeside citizens

                Like any other winter day, the cold frigid air chills my bones and the putrid smell that comes from the lake is just as unbearable as ever. The smell of death from the war still lingers everywhere. The strangest thing just happened. I swear I saw ogres walking the streets and head into the tavern. There must be something in the air.

                The tavern is packed with would-be heroes, and drunks. What has the world come to when even the monsters my parents warn me about are coming in and looking for adventure? “If you’re looking for work check the board, then be gone!” Ugly beasts, Ogres are. Need to see what these three need. My voice is drowned out by the damn crier, also shouting about the end of the world. He just lost me three customers but on the up side the ogres are gone as well.

                “The shadow haunt is upon us. Khyber will be open and all the demon spawn release upon us. The keep of the Shadowfell is now haven for monsters and the Demon Lord Orcus’ minions. You must all join the fight and stop this!” Day after day I warn them. They never listen! Today though, six stayed. Six will save us. Ugly ones, a pixie, a dwarf, an elf and a woman are the only ones to stay. “You there, adventurers are you? You care to save the world? You must head north. It’s a few days travel by foot. You will find Winterhaven; there will be more answers when you get there. Make haste friends, our world is counting on it.”

Part 1: The Keep on Shadowfell (This was one of the modules I used while working on my island)

Chapter 1:

                My name is William Winklethighson III, this name will be important someday so I feel it necessary to disclose this first and foremost. I am a student at the Bard School of Karrneth and I am working on a tale. For this reason I decided to follow an odd group after seeing them in the town of Lakeside, an assorted bunch. Many people are afraid of monsters like the ogre, me I find them fascinating.

                Loud footsteps could be heard for many yards away as the half-ogre couple stomped along the road to Winterhaven. Shrek and Fiona, a somewhat odd married couple of half-ogres had set out for adventure. Why the came to Karrnath is still a mystery to me that and ogre marriges is a scary thought to me.  I did not get to speak with them as much as some of the others. I knew they were man and wife and that Fiona controlled Shrek. Neither the most intelligent of beasts and often they found themselves knocking on death’s door.

                Greg wobbled as fast as he could behind the ogres for the most part. Greg’s story was simple. He was not the best at typical dwarven occupations. He thought he was destined for more. So with nothing more than his coin purse, rags on his back and an axe, he went out looking for adventure.  He is not the strongest of dwarfs but he is as sturdy as the mountains he came from. Which ones, well, he refused to tell me. Might have something to do with why he left home.

                Victor, that one is by far the oddest of the bunch. He claims to be related to about five other people, that all have a different mother. He is half-drow and fights in the most unusual ways. Sometimes I thought he would have been better in theater than in the heart of a dungeon. We all realize our destinies at some point. Maybe one day I will be writing a different tale about his glorious acting career.

                Soriya was a pixie. There really isn’t much else to say about her. She often hid from anything that moved or she flew around Shrek and Fiona for protection. There may have been more to that story but I was unable to get an interview with her. All I knew was she was a fire bug. If ever there was something flammable, it was often set ablaze. Surprisingly that small creature did more damage over the time I spent following them than the rest of the party combined.

                Andromeda didn’t seem to fit into the group. Greg was a good friend of hers but everyone else seemed to be uninterested in her. She was rather evil. Not in the, I’m going to take over the world or leader of a demonic colt evil, but she had her moments. She was the only human in the group so I could relate with her at times. I would not want to share treasures with the ogre brutes either.

                Finally there was Rompompom. The goliath traveled with the party sometimes. She was never one for words other than with the pixie. They whispered secrets that to this day I still wonder about. While not the most valiant of warriors, she did on occasion hit things extremely hard. Much of the tales of her involve trying to stop fights mid battle with her soft spoken voice, it rarely worked out for her.

                Coin and the opportunity to prove their worth was the motivation to head to Winterhaven. The true purpose of this adventure seemed to be lost on this group. They just wanted fame and fortune. How they got it was unimportant to them. This fact in mind made me almost give up on using them as subjects for my tale. Time and time again I ask myself, will this be an epic tale of valor and heroism or a tale of folly and defeat?

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I’ll have another installment on the tales of this group later. This was hopefully a more enjoyable introduction to the group and next will be their first few encounters and their first visit to the town of Winterhaven.

This is one of my pugs Dilbert. Not really relevant to the Post but I couldn't stop laughing and thought it might cheer up someone.
This is one of my pugs Dilbert. Not really relevant to the Post but I couldn’t stop laughing and thought it might cheer up someone.

Thank you for reading and Happy Questing!

My D&D 3.5 Homebrew Pug Race.

So I have been working on a home brew race for a future D&D game. It is a race based upon my favorite 4 legged friend the Pug!

Also found a very funny video that made me laugh. its a somewhat spoof of the history of the pug.

 

Image
I did not draw this I found it while googleing but I found it to be very appropriate for a Pugdorian Guard

Pugdorian (3.5e Race)

Pugdorians

The rarely-seen Pugdorians are a race of small sized (About the size of a dwarf) caninish creatures. While canine in nature they are bipedal with hands similar to human hands. Covered from head to tail in fur with very distinctly pug features and coloration.

Personality

Pugdorians personalities vary greatly from one pug to another. Overall, their personality is more puglike in nature than human. They can be extremely lazy at times, often sleeping entire days. Pugdorians often stick around a human friend, following them everywhere almost in inappropriate ways, The Pugdorian may seem extraordinary dependent and helpless without companions but the Pugdorian is extremely self-sufficient if left alone.

Few Pugdorians wear any clothing. Nudity is common among the pugs as part of their animal-like nature. The only Pugdorians who regularly wear any clothing of any kind are Pugdorian priestesses and Pugdorian warriors who are specifically charged with the protection of the village. Pugdorians who spend a large amount of time around other species may wear clothing to avoid breaking any taboos other species might have about public nudity. Pugdorians are not the most nimble creature but they are extremely charismatic.

Physical Description

Pugdorians resemble 3 to 4 foot tall pug people with more pug features than human. Their most noticeable pug features are their squished snout and their curly tail. Their fur color can vary some from one Pugdorian to another. In most cases, however, they tend to be fawn with black snouts and ears. The top of their heads is adorned with human-like hair varying wildly in color and texture. They have tails which are short and curly. All Pugdorians are capable of snorting, sneezing and barking a piercing bark, almost deafening.

Relations

Pugdorians typically hang around their own type or that of humanoid races. There has been rare sightings of Outsiders to keep a Pugdorian as a companion.

Alignment

Pugdorians are generally of good alignment.

Religion

Pugdorians rarely worship a diety but rather they have multiple gods with names that don’t translate well from their native tongue. The God of Treats, and the God of Naps are common among the Pugdorians

Language

The Pugdorians speak their own language known as Pugnish. To the untrained or unfocused ear, their speech could almost be perceived as nothing more than the sounds normal pugs make. Grunting, girdling and the occasional sneeze and snort.

Names

Pugdorian names vary greatly but common names are: Spike, Scout, Pugsly, and Mr. Woofwoof.

Racial Traits

  • -2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma; Pugdorians are far from quick and agile, but are more cuddly and charismatic that most.
  • Humanoid
  • Small: As a Small creature, a Pugdorian gains a +1 size bonus to Armor Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –4 size penalty on special attack (bull rushes, grapples, overruns, and trips) checks, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks, but it uses smaller weapons than humans use, and its lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
  • Pugdorians base land speed is 20 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: A Pugdorian can see twice as far as a human in starlight, moonlight, torchlight, and similar conditions of poor illumination. It retains the ability to distinguish color and detail under these conditions.
  • Racial Skills: Spot, Listen, Sense Motive, Tumble, and Scent are always considered class skills for buying ranks in those skills. They gain +4 skill points per level which can only be used in those skills. Pugdorians receive a – 2 to Balance, Jump and Swim skills due to their dense bodies.
  • Piercing Bark: Once Per Encounter a Pugdorian can make a Piercing Bark, everyone within 30 feet of the Pugdorian must make a Will save DC is 10 + HD + Charisma Modifier or be dazed for 1d4 rounds. Creatures cannot be affected by the Piercing bark again within 24 hours
  • Adorable Eyes: Once Per Encounter a Pugdorian can attempt to look adorable and keep hopefully stop further aggression towards the creature. Creatures that can see the Pugdorian must make a will save DC is 10 + HD + Charisma Modifer or receive a -1 to attack/ damage and will saves against the Pugdorian.
  • Lazy: A Pugdorian requires 10-12 hours of rest per day. This can include naps throughout a 24 hour period. If the Pugdorian doesn’t get his required sleep he/she will be grumpy the until he/she gets 12 hours of rest. This gives the Pugdorian a -1 to attack rolls and saves.
  • Pugdorians receive a -2 to save’s against Fear and Mind altering affects due to their naïve and trusting nature.
  • Always Armed: Pugdorians have retractable claws on their hands and feet along with sharp teeth which can be used as an armed attack instead of a wielded weapon. Extending and retracting their claws is a free action. In combat, their claws and teeth are treated as wielded weapons. Claws are slashing weapons which do 1d4 damage (+1d4 at every 5th level) with a crit range of 19-20×2. Teeth (bite attack) are piercing weapons which do 1d4 damage (+1d4 at every 5th level) with a crit range of 19-20×2.
  • Automatic Languages: Pugnish and Common.
  • Bonus Languages: Any appropriate to an individual pug’s birth place.
  • Favored Class: Monk

Vital Statistics

Table: Pugdorian Random Starting Ages

Adulthood

Simple

Moderate

Complex

15 years +1d4 +2d6 +4d8

Table: Pugdorian Aging Effects

Middle Age1

Old2

Venerable3

Maximum Age

75 years 120 years 200 years +250 years
  1. At middle age, −1 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  2. At old age, −2 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.
  3. At venerable age, −3 to Str, Dex, and Con; +1 to Int, Wis, and Cha.

Table: Pugdorian Random Height and Weight

Gender

Base Height

Height Modifier

Base Weight

Weight Modifier

Male 3′ 6″ +2d4 60 lb. × (1d4) lb.
Female 3′ 1″ +2d4 50 lb. × (1d4) lb.