Thursday, May 28, 2015

Special Talents for White Star

I have been reading through James Spahn's excellent space opera RPG White Star this week and the notion of special talents struck me. Characters in the space opera genre (and many other genres, really) often seem to have special abilities, talents or unique things about them that set them apart.

I have used these types of "special talents" before in B/X games, so I looked up some old files and re-tooled them with a hydrospanner for use with White Star.

Presenting below, a quick list of special talents for PCs...

Special talents are unique traits possessed by PCs or notable NPCs. Special talents may be inherent or genetic traits, mystical powers, mutations from being exposed to weird radiation, benefits or knowledge gained from a background or upbringing, or simply well-practiced skills—whatever explanation works for the referee. Numerous special talents are presented below, some provide minor statistical benefits and others are general or knowledge-based traits.


PCs gain one special talent roll at 1st level.


Roll d8   Special Talent
1             Dirty Fighter
2             Gizmo Sense
3             Linguist
4             Lucky
5             Mentalist
6             Quick Healer
7             Servant
8             Starbrat

Dirty Fighter: You know how to piss off your foes. Each combat round you may designate one opponent that you have already damaged. If that opponent attacks anyone other than you, he suffers a -1 penalty to his attack roll.

Gizmo Sense: You have a 10% chance per level (max 90% at 9th level) to identify the general purpose and function of any “magical,” ancient, pan-dimensional, or otherwise bizarre technological device. You can try this once per day.

Linguist: You possess a natural gift with languages. Regardless of your Intelligence score, you know two additional languages.

Lucky: You have the favor of the cosmos, are fated to do great deeds, or are just plain lucky. Once per day you can invoke your luck and roll two dice for any single die roll and take the better of the two results. You can decide before or after you’ve made the first die roll.

Mentalist: You are a mentalist. You possess a mysterious gift, as hard to command as a dream, which enables you to sense echoes of the past. Once per day, you can invoke a vision tied to the immediate area in which you are standing. A vision augments your rational senses, providing you with information about events and people at that location during the past. The vision lasts for one minute or until you leave the immediate area.

Quick Healer: You heal quickly from injury. You naturally heal 1d4 plus your Constitution modifier in hit points for a complete day of rest.

Servant: You have a butler, handmaiden, apprentice, servant android or some other assistant appropriate to your class and social standing. You may call upon your servant to perform any tasks or duties he is trained for. Your servant is not an adventurer (i.e. doesn’t possess a class) and will not fight for you, but he does know some useful skills appropriate to his training. You are required to provide and pay for your servant. At the referee’s discretion, your servant is not replaceable. If he is killed, you cannot call upon another servant until you perform a particular task or make an appropriate payment.

Starbrat: You grew up in starports and aboard starships. You know your way around them (including the service corridors and crawlspaces) and won’t get lost, no matter their size. You also know where to find interesting or black market items and people who don’t usually want to be found.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

DM Session Log Sheet for 5e D&D

Today's post offers up a DM's session log sheet with a master monster matrix tailored for 5e D&D games.

Basically, this 2-page sheet helps me handle 3 critical things during a game session:

1) It allows me to see important player character stats at a glance and track damage/conditions/etc.
2) I can jot down notes on encounters the PCs have, treasures they find, and track their accumulated expees.
3) It gives me a place to write out monster stats so I don't have to flip through a book unless absolutely necessary.

Enjoy, I hope you find it useful!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Wow my DM's Seat sure has Changed!

It's got screens now. WTF?!?

Yes, the Wastelands Campaign has gone online. My players and I all live in different places now, so we've had to switch up how we meet to play.

My DM's Seat
I ran my first online session in the Wastelands campaign using Google Hangouts tonight. Weird. Not used to this kind of "tabletop" gaming yet. I was pretty well prepped as far as notes and setting up my desk for use goes (I think!) but without a virtual tabletop or combat maps, I felt kinda lost at some points. I'll get used to it, I'm sure, as will my players.

We just haven't had "theater of the mind" combats in a very long time, and it showed. I think next time I'll at least have some chamber or combat maps drawn and ready to post for reference, if the players or I need them.

Overall it went pretty smoothly though, and we're looking forward to the next session during the week.

If you good readers have any tips or recommendations for running games over Google Hangouts, I'd love to read them. Cheers!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Wastelands Player's Guide PDF

Previously on the blog, I mentioned I had created a Player's Guide for my Wastelands of Kreth campaign. Most of the content has been presented on the blog over the last two months. I originally had the guide printed and gave it out to the players to help create their characters and get a feel for the campaign setting. I also mentioned it wasn't going to be available for download. Well, I changed my mind! If you've been following along and find the campaign setting interesting, you can get it here in a booklet-sized PDF, reformatted without artwork. Cheers!

Wastelands Religion (Part 2 of 2): Dwarves, Elves & Half-Orcs

Today we have a summary of the religious views of dwarves, elves and half-orcs in the Wastelands of Kreth.

A glimpse of the Mechanoid Construct

The dwarves worship a small group of deities who created and oversee the multiverse. Both the gods and the multiverse are known as the Mechanoid Construct, and they are one and the same—indivisible, unbreakable and perfectly ordered to function for eternity.

The chief deity of the Mechanoid Construct is Synculon the Articulator, the god who first created and gave precise timing, expression and substance to the multiverse. Other deities include Justicron, warrior and protector of the multiverse devoted to rooting out servants of the dark god Chaositron (see below); Oculus, visionary, magician and revealer of the multiverse’s secrets; Regulus, loremaster and organizer of the multiverse and establisher of systems and laws; and Technus, the forger of elements and stars and worlds, and inspiration for the construction and crafting of all things, including the dwarves.

There also exists Chaositron, the dark god, destroyer and saboteur of the multiverse. Chaositron’s driving purpose is to undo the perfect machinations of the Mechanoid Construct. Chaositron’s greatest creations are the Dragonauts, vile machine-like dragons bent upon creating mayhem and dealing slaughter and death wherever they roam.

Torvath Tru the Path of Infinite Understanding
Elves are unique amongst the races for they do not worship gods and have no religion. Elves seek only to enlighten themselves by expanding their intellect and understanding all things. They study science, magic, logic, good and evil, philosophy, the origins of life and existence, and other mysteries of the cosmos. This quest for enlightenment is called the Path of Infinite Understanding, or Torvath Tru.

Half-orcs first worshipped the Vaalisharat, a force of evil in the Dark Years that created and enslaved them to be a master warrior race. Half-orc rebels who escaped their slavers played a major part in the downfall of the Vaalisharat and the ending of the Dark Years. 

Saduj Soul Redeemer
Following the Dark Years, many half-orcs turned to worship a new god, Saduj the Soul Redeemer. The Exalted Flagellants of Saduj—the high priests—preached of the Ways to Redemption as means to cleanse the inherently evil souls of all half-orcs. The rituals of the Ways include prolonged periods of fasting and even starvation, self-flagellation as a reminder of one’s wicked origins, and other self-punishing acts or denials of many worldly luxuries.

However, some half-orcs refute Saduj and the Ways of Redemption. Instead they worship one or more of the Panjari, the New Gods of humanity. The Black-souled Heretics, as the High Flagellants call the deniers of Saduj, face social ostracization, persecution and even violence from half-orcs who ardently follow the Ways. Krakor the Warlord and the Lords of Elemental Chaos are common deities of choice amongst these heretical renegades.

Divine Power

Chaositron the Destroyer
Trickery, War
Eight spikes radiating from a black circle
Justicron the Warrior
Oculus the Visionary
Circular eye mounted on tripod
Regulus the Organizer
Gearworks inside a rune-covered square
Synculon the Articulator
Spiral trailing eight equidistant arms
Technus the Forger
Anvil and lightning bolt

Torvath Tru, the Path of Infinite Understanding
Variable, choose appropriate
Prism reflecting multicolored light rays

Saduj the Soul-Redeemer & the Ways of Redemption
Life, Light, Nature, War
A greatsword with wings
Panjari: some half-orcs worship human gods
Variable, choose appropriate
See Panjari under human religion