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Traditional Gaming

Top 10 Cruel Gods

GeekOut Top 10s

To be cruel is to be evil – Actually, not quite. Sometimes, you have to be kind to be cruel, or you have to be cruel to be kind. Naturally, evil entities are always pretty cruel typically – Torture, revenge via humiliation, the usual. The ten gods we list below are all cruel in their own ways, but their degrees of cruelty each vary. So read on for this week’s list, or I’m sure these deities will smite you for your indiscretions.

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Dungeon Situational – A PC Lair

With the approach of Matt Colville’s Strongholds and Followers, I feel inclined to offer my own idea of a singular base of operations in which players may stash their gear, return to repair their equipment, and to rest in relative safety. From here our players may roam out in pursuit of wealth and glory, to return again and tend their wounds, study, and reflect upon their journey. In time, it may become too small for their needs, and they may wish to move on, or they may instead choose to build and expand.

This article is rules-light, but still utilises Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition as a reference point. (more…)


Dungeon Situational – Books and Their Secrets

Books, rich tomes of lore and knowledge, and in a world of magic, power, monsters, worse, and better, knowledge can reveal so much about the world that you can use to twist and bend to your advantage. Eldritch secrets, long forgotten treasures, and far darker mysteries abound to those with the patience to settle down and get some reading done.

As per usual, Dungeon Situational uses Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rules but should be readily modified. It’s all just ideas to get you thinking about how to stock your own fantasy library.

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Dungeon Situational – Three Quest Specific Spells

The spells of D&D 5e – as contained within the Players Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to everything and other sources – appeal to a broad range of characters with applications in combat and in many instances of day to day life. In a world of unexpected and varied dangers it pays to cover all bases… but what if the more a plot unravels, the more specific forms of magic become useful to you?

Presented here are very specific spells designed to inspire ideas specific to your own campaign, referring to motives of specific factions or parties, designed for combating a particular type of opponent, or overcome a particular type of obstacle. The rules as listed use Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, but should be readily modified to suit most fantasy systems. Here are three campaign-specific spells.

Abjure Serpents

3rd level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: V, S, M (A trilliant cut emerald worth at least 200 GP)
Duration: Concentration, up to 10 minutes.

Snakes, yuan-ti, hydras, and other serpentine creatures within 10 feet of you must succeed on a wisdom saving throw or be afraid of you. While afraid of you they cannot use their action for anything other than dashing away from you. Creatures must repeat the saving throw when they enter or start their turn within the range of the spell. Creatures you designate within the range have advantage on saving throws against poison effects, and resistance to poison damage.

At higher levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 5th level or higher, you may increase the radius of the spell by 10 feet, and again when you use a 7th level spell slot, and again when you use a 9th level spell slot.

Decipher

6th level divination (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Components: V, M (a complex puzzle of wooden or metal pieces that has been solved)
Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour.

For the duration your mind sees through elaborate and complicated patterns as if they were childishly simple, isolating clues, and comprehending solutions. The affected creature has a +10 bonus to intelligence checks made to solve riddles, puzzles, and devices. This bonus applies to all checks made to recall knowledge concerning the riddle, puzzle, or device, and to investigation checks made to search for clues, hidden components, or hidden patterns.

The spell does not account for active deceptions, or any knowledge not overtly possessed by the creature, such as languages it does not understand. If a component is missing, the spell will allow the creature to observe this fact, but will not reveal the location of the missing object, unless it is something they have already encountered, or if it is something that can be found within areas the creature investigates while affected by the spell.

Mark of Bel’Taln

Transmutation Cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Self
Components: S
Duration: 1 hour

When you cast Mark of Bel’Taln, take 1 fire damage. A brand in the shape of the arcane mark appears on your skin on a location of your choosing, and remains there for the duration before fading.

The mark is used to identify members of the cult of Worshipful Bel’Taln to one another, and can only be taught to members by other members. A creature does not need to have the spellcasting feature to be able to cast Mark of Bel’Taln, but you must have a wisdom or charisma score of 13 or higher. This spell cannot be learned by elves or half elves.

When you reach 5th level, and good standing within the cult, you may be granted one of the additional features listed below. You may gain additional features at 11th level, and again at 17th. You must be granted these features by a a higher ranking member of the cult. When you cast the Mark of Bel’Taln, you take additional fire damage equal to twice the number of additional features you know.

  • While you bear his mark, you may speak the language of Bel’Taln. You can understand and be understood by monstrosities as if you shared a language, and you have advantage on charisma checks and animal handling checks made to influence their behaviour.
  • While you bear his mark, you have the blessing of Bel’Taln. You have resistance to acid and cold damage. Your unarmed attacks deal bludgeoning damage equal to your proficiency modifier, and you may choose to make unarmed attacks using your spellcasting modifier instead of strength.
  • While you bear his mark, you know the heart of Bel’Taln. You may teach the cantrip Mark of Bel’Taln to another creature. Doing so takes 1 hour, and the process ordains the creature into the cult of Worshipful Bel’Taln. That creature must meet the requirements to learn the cantrip as listed above.
  • While you bear his mark, you know the wrath of Bel’Taln. When a creature makes a melee attack against you, you may use your reaction to deal an amount of acid damage to that creature equal to your spellcasting modifier.
  • While you bear his mark, you know the enemies of Bel’Taln. You have advantage on skill checks when they specifically pertain to elves. For example, you have advantage on stealth checks made to hide from elves, or insight checks made to sense the motives of elves.

Ok, I think we run this series through November and then put it to rest for a few months. I have had an idea for something else for next year, and I have some films chalked up to review. As for next week:

Books and their secrets, some tomes of knowledge that grant unexpected benefits, such as spells, formulas for magic items, or unveiling the location of incredible treasures.

An extra planar encounter table, detailing potential encounters within… let’s see… Carceri! The Prison Plane, the inescapable torment.

Or three different ways in which paladins can embrace or interpret their oaths, and the laws that they abide by.


Top 10 Cults

GeekOut Top 10s

Greetings brothers and sisters and welcome, to our humble little family. Do not be put off by the burning Satanic rings around the place, for we’re merely in the process of redecoration. We’ve got a simple test to see if you’re worthy to join us, or if you might not fit our requirements. Today, we’re going to share with you our list – Our Top 10 Cults. Be prepared, for you’re about to learn about some of the limitations of the human brain.

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Snitch – by Slight Games – Kickstarter

You may remember a that some time ago we attended UK Games Expo and during that time, we came across quite a few Kickstarter projects that were due to launch this year. Snitch is one of those projects I found, where I was lucky enough to play it with the creators. It’s a fast-paced social-deduction style game, that now has been released on Kickstarter and at time of writing, is well underway to getting funded.

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Top 10 – Potions

GeekOut Top 10s

Happy Spooky Season!

The witches brew, fruit of the cauldron, magic in liquid form, bottled and corked, and ready for mass distribution. They can be medicinal, toxic, empowering, destructive, or just plain weird. Sometimes it’s important to just randomly drink bottles you find on the ground especially if they glow, because it could be any of those adjectives, or all of them, and you’ll only know if you try.

Hold your nose, down the hatch, and hope this one isn’t poison. It’s the Top 10 potions. (more…)


Dungeon Situational – Three Curses

Among the many weapons in the DMs arsenal, often we overlook the idea of curses. Monsters and traps aplenty, puzzles and challenges, sure, but a curse is something wholly other. Disease is frequently too random, we rarely use disease because it is not something earned through foolish action, but a curse can be laid upon a player who does something foolish, or stumbles across something terrible.

These curses broadly use Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rules, but can easily be adjusted for other systems and settings.

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Dungeon Situational – 20 Travelling Partners pt. 2

Right, where were we? Travelling companions eleven through twenty. Here’s one through ten if you missed them.

Matoban Riverwheel

Halfling, female

The softly spoken halfling dresses in soft leathers and expensive looking silks, but without much by way of ornamentation or showy colours. Her hair is a thick bundle of dun dreadlocks tied with a chord, and she goes barefoot most places while travelling. She’s hard to hear in the midst of heavy conversation, but happy enough to listen and participate only when she feels it’s her “turn” to speak, waiting for lulls where she might be heard clearly. (more…)


Star Realms Frontiers

Back in August 2017, I backed this product on Kickstarter as an early birthday present, under the impression it would’ve come in time for December that same year. A handful of delays with design and printing eventually led the EU fulfilment to happen this September.

Was it worth the wait?

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